The Game: New Jersey Devils (20-25-7) vs. the New York Islanders (30-16-6 SBNation; Lighthouse Hockey)
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: TV - MSG
Bye-Bye Boyle: Fan favorite Brian Boyle was traded to the Nashville Predators for a 2nd round pick. With the Predators being a strong team, this will likely be a late second round pick, but still good value for Brian Boyle. Boyle has been one of the better members on the Devils, with 13 goals and 6 assists on the Devils this year. A dependent 3rd/4th line center, his presence will be missed on the Devils.
Islanders Waves: The Islanders are, perhaps surprisingly, the Metropolitan’s leading team. Even with the loss of John Tavares, they are leading with dominant goaltending from Robin Lehner, who carries a .932 save percentage. He has now gone 15 games with a save percentage over .900, and is top Vezina candidate. Lehner’s backup, Thomas Greiss, is also performing at a great level. Greiss is sporting a 14-8-2 record, with an equally impressive .924 save percentage. He’s let in only one goal in his last 185 minutes played, so whichever goaltender the Islanders choose should be hard to score on.
Offensively, Matt Barzal is there only true dominant player, with 47 points in 52 games. Anders Lee is the Islanders top goal scorer, with 18 goals in 52 games. Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, Casey Cizikas, Valtteri Filppula and Anthony Beauvillier are the other players with over 10 goals. Ryan Pulock and Nick Leddy are the defenders with over 20:00 minutes. The team is still growing, and will be dangerous for years to come.
Devils Scorers: The top scorer for the Devils is Kyle Palmieri, with 23 goals and 17 assists. Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier are the other top scorers, but Taylor Hall is still injured. Blake Coleman and Travis Zajac are the other 10+ goal scorers. Damon Severson leads the Devils in ATOI, and has 7 goals on the season.
No current goalie on the Devils roster is solid. Kinkaid and Schneider both have save percentages under .900, while Mackenzie Blackwood was sent back to the AHL.
Projected Lines: With Boyle drawing out of the lineup, I’d expect Brett Seney to draw back in. There has not been any updates on the Stefan Noesen and Joey Anderson situations. If Ben Lovejoy is healthy, I’d guess he draws in while Yakovlev draws out. I’d guess that Kinkaid starts.
For the Islanders, there shouldn’t be too many drastic chances from their last game. Lehner will probably start, and their standard lineup will play against the Devils
Your Thoughts: Who will win? Who will score? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.