Game Preview: Devils at Islanders

The Islanders welcome the New Jersey Devils to the Nassau Coliseum tonight looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals last night. The loss ended the Isles' 5 game winning streak and will serve as a mental gut check to see how quick the Isles can rebound from the loss. The Islanders were without newcomer Johnny Boychuk (upper body injury) who was replaced by Brian Strait. Lubomir Visnovsky also sustained an undiscolosed injury during the game although initial reports say it is not concussion related, which is very good news. The Islanders are slated to be without Boychuk and Visnovsky again this evening which means Strait will be back in the lineup and Matt Donovan will play in his second game of the year.

Like the Islanders, the Devils are also coming off of a loss last night. The Detroit Red Wings were able to come from behind to defeat the Devils 5-4 in the shootout. It seems as though the skills competition hasn't gotten any easier for New Jersey who continues to struggle in that department. Goaltending wise, Cory Schneider has become a work horse for the Devils this season having started 22 of 23 games so far. Schneider did play last night so it is possible that Scott Clemmensen could get the start today against the Isles, although trends would suggest it will likely be Schneider again.

Projected Lineups:

New York Islanders (16-7-0, 32 points; T-1st in Metropolitan Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)

Nikolay Kulemin - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Mikhail Grabovski - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Brian Strait
Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey - Matt Donovan

Jaroslav Halak
Chad Johnson

New Jersey Devils (9-10-4, 22 points; 5th in Metropolitan Division, 12th in Eastern Conference)

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Jaromir Jagr
Mike Cammalleri - Patrik Elias - Martin Havlat
Tuomo Ruutu - Travis Zajac - Michael Ryder
Jacob Josefson - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Damon Severson
Peter Harrold - Marek Zidlicky
Adam Larsson - Seth Helgeson

Scott Clemmensen
Cory Schneider

-Isles goaltender Chad Johnson played another below average game yesterday in which he let a few pucks behind him that should have been stopped so it will be Jaroslav Halak in net tonight. Halak has won his past 8 starts and has allowed only 10 goals over that span.

-I have to assume the Devils will start Scott Clemmensen tonight because 23 starts in 24 games is a crazy number for a golatender so early in the season, but it very well might be Schneider as well. For a team that is trying to tread water in the division, it would be intelligent to give their starter some rest so he doesn't burn out.

-Anders Lee is beginning to heat up having scored 4 points in the last 5 games. He is picking up the void left by Matt Moulson in front of the opposing net. Lee has a nose for rebounds and scores most of his goals on second and third chances.

-The Isles need to play a simple and disciplined game tonight since they will have 2 of their top defensemen out of the lineup. Penalties almost cost them the game at home against Washington and was the cause of the Capitals' first goal last night. Less will be more tonight against an already defensively stingy Devils team.

 

Bryan Curran
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