The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (5-4-1) vs. the New York Islanders (7-4-1 SBNation; Lighthouse Hockey)
The Broadcast: MSG
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
Recent Woe: The struggles continue, with the Devils losing a heartbreaking game to the Red Wings. The loss was deserved, as the Devils have lost all the speed and grit they had shown early in the season, and look slow and tired. Three straight road losses won’t cut it, and the Devils need to find a way to gain momentum throughout the game and find a way to beat a surging Islanders team.
Reverse Spectrum: The Islanders are the opposite of the Devils, now on a 4 game win streak. They swept the Penguins in two games, and edged by the Flyers and Hurricanes. The leading players on the team are the expected players. Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Matt Barzal are one of the deadliest lines in the game, with Brock Nelson having potted 6 goals. Casey Cizikas and Valterri Filppula are valuable depth players, with 7 points respectably. However, it is surprisingly the defense that has carried the Islanders. Their 2.5 goals allowed per game is good for 5th in the NHL, and Robin Lehner has been playing over his head with a 2.45 GAA and .928 save percentage. Will this hot start last? We can only hope the end starts now.
Devils Woes: The Devils can score goals — That isn’t the problem. However, when the Devils give up 3.2 goals a game, it’s hard to win the majority of your games. Will Butcher made a careless play in the last game which led to a shorthanded goal — hopefully a learning experience. The team needs to tighten up defensively, however, to avoid an Islanders situation similar to last season. Changes need to be made, less the struggles continue.
Transactions: Pavel Zacha and Kevin Rooney were sent down, while Brett Seney and Kurtis Gabriel were called up in their place. Seney is an interesting call-up, as he was dominating in the AHL, while Gabriel is what you get from him.
Projected Lineups: As of now, nothing. I will update this if news comes out before 8:00 AM Saturday.
Your Thoughts?: Who do you think will win? Who will score? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.