Isles Dance With Devils
The New York Islanders play host to the New Jersey Devils this afternoon. Islanders fans also hope that their team remembers to play hockey – something that has proved to be a difficult task in the last few games.
On Thanksgiving Eve, the Islanders dropped a heartbreaker to the Flyers in overtime, despite having gained a 3-1 lead. An unfortunate bounce off the glass led to Danny Briere’s tying goal with 5 minutes to play in the third period.
The Islanders received a power play opportunity in overtime, but were unable to convert. The Flyers quickly took advantage of the second chance they were given for the bonus point and scored on a 3-on-2 break just seconds after completing the penalty kill.
A short memory will be required to compete well this afternoon against the Devils, as the Islanders cannot afford to come out slow against the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Patrik Elias. Another strong effort from Kyle Okposo will be needed, as his improved play after being a healthy scratch for 3 games will be key for the Islanders’ offensive unit.
The Devils enter the game hot, winning 7 of their last 10. However, there have been a few shootout and overtime triumphs in that streak, indicating that the Devils have been a bad bounce or two away from a little less hot of a streak.
The Islanders haven’t gotten many bounces to go their way lately, but the first period against the Flyers was a period that they can look back on and build off of.
Blake Comeau was waived following the game against the Flyers, and this morning it was released that he has been claimed by the Calgary Flames. Comeau’s departure from the team follows a career best season with 24 goals, but also an extremely slow and unproductive start. Comeau has failed to record a point so far this season.
It also puts the rest of the team on notice that lackadaisical and uninterested play like Comeau’s was to start the season will not be tolerated. Veterans Brian Rolston and Marty Reasoner should take note, as should Jay Pandolfo and even Josh Bailey who has improved his play of late.
The Islanders will need a strong effort this afternoon, as they desperately need a win to break this winless skid they are in the midst of. Look for John Tavares to return to the scoresheet and make an impact in this game.
Al Montoya gets the start in net for the Islanders, as Anders Nilsson will be returned to Bridgeport. Rick DiPietro will back him up.
My Prediction: The Islanders get the job done in this game, winning by a score of 4-2. John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Kyle Okposo each score. Al Montoya plays well in his return from the IR and guides the Islanders back into the win column.