The New York Islanders‘ first homestand of the season ends tonight with a matchup against the New Jersey Devils at the Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The Islanders are coming into this game after picking up a rare home win against the Bruins. That Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup was a tough fought battle by both teams. Fortunately, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the game-winner for the Isles with less than five minutes remaining in the game to give the Islanders a 1-0 victory.
The Devils played their third game of the season on Tuesday night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. New Jersey won
. Jack Hughes led the Devils with two goals in the game.
The New York Islanders are looking to beat the New Jersey Devils tonight before they close out the month of January with a five-game road trip.
Tonight’s game between the Islanders and Devils starts a two-game set between these teams. The second game will be on Sunday night at the Prudential Center.
Then the Islanders will travel to Washington to take renew their rivalry with the Capitals for two games before ending their road trip with two contests in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
The next time the blue and orange will be back on home ice will be next month on February second, against the Buffalo Sabres.
Tale of the Tape
The Islanders come into today as the favorites, courtesy of the Action network.
Although the Islanders may be the favorites for tonight’s game, in the past year the Devils have given the Islanders many tough games. Last season, the Islanders and Devils played twice. The teams split the series with the Islanders winning their game in New Jersey 4-3 in overtime, but losing the game at the Coliseum 2-1.
The Devils have improved this offseason and have a younger more dynamic roster. Tonight should be another tough battle for the Islanders. The blue and orange have a great chance tonight to pick up two points from their long-time divisional rival.
It looks like for the first time in this young 2021 season, the Islanders will be making changes to their lineup.
Although Komarov is expected to replace Bailey, Kieffer Bellows is expected to take Bailey’s spot on the Islanders’ second line after practicing with Bailey’s group yesterday.
That other expected Islanders lineup change is Michael Dal Colle is projected to replace Ross Johnston on the third line. Dal Colle has been on the injured reserve since the Islanders announced their opening night roster. Komarov is expected to play on the line with Dal Colle and Pageau.
The Islanders lineup is projected to be the same on defense and in goal. Semyon Varlamov is projected to be in net tonight after setting the new Islanders record for shutout streak to start the season (120 minutes). Ilya Sorokin looks set to back him up.
The Islanders are projected to lineup like this:
The Devils feature a young roster in the early part of this season and this team has performed great to start their new season. They split their first series against the Bruins, losing the first game in a shutout then winning the second contest in overtime. Then, as we mentioned above, they most recently beat the Rangers.
The Devils are led by their top line of, 22-year-old rookie, Yegor Sharangovich alongside former number one pick, Jack Hughes and, Smithtown, New York native, Kyle Palmieri. This line bolsters a ton of speed and is fun to watch.
The rest of the Devils’ forward depth chart is a combination of veterans with inexperienced forwards. So far this lineup has worked well for new head coach, Lindy Ruff and it looks like he will stick with this lineup in tonight’s game.
One notable omission you will notice from the Devils roster is Nico Hischier. The 2017 first overall pick suffered an injury while training for the 2021 season and has yet to return from his injury.
The Devils defense is much stronger compared to years prior with the additions of Ryan Murray and Dmitri Kulikov. Murray is paired with P.K. Subban, and Kulikov is on a pairing with Damon Severson.
New Jersey’s defensive group is rounded out with a pairing of rookie Ty Smith and thirty-year-old depth player, Matt Tennyson.
Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to get the start tonight after an outstanding performance in his last outing against the Rangers on Tuesday night. Blackwood made 47 saves on 50 shots faced and has started the season extremely well.
The Devils are projected to lineup like this:
Where to Catch the Game
TV: MSG+ (Islanders Telecast), MSG+2 (Devils Telecast), MSG GO
Radio: 88.7FM 103.9FM 1050AM
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Tonight in the East Division
Besides the Islanders vs Devils matchup, there is only one other game in the East division this evening. The Flyers will be facing off against the Bruins at 7:00 p.m.
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*