Game Preview: New Jersey Devils @ NY Islanders

The Isles are 0-1-1 against the Devils in 2023-24.

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The NY Islanders (30-25-15, 75 points) will continue their busy weekend on Long Island as they take on the New Jersey Devils at UBS Arena.


The Islanders played their first of a back-to-back on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets at UBS Arena. The Isles came out firing with the top line of Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, and Kyle Palmieri all having great scoring chances. However, it was Cal Clutterbuck who struck first on a backhand shot right off a faceoff win by Kyle MacLean. Moments later, the top line kept their momentum with a goal from Palmieri assisted on a cross-ice pass by Nelson. Vladislav Namestnikov responded 2:30 afterward to keep the game close. Otherwise, the Isles finished their best period of play in quite some time with another goal from Clutterbuck to make the game 3-1.

The Isles continued their heroic efforts into the second period. Hudson Fasching scored his first goal since January 21st on a pass through the crease from Mathew Barzal. The newly assembled second line struck once more on a goal from Barzal to make the game 5-1. The Jets could not hold off the trio before the frame could end as Anders Lee scored on an assist from Fasching. MacLean also had his first NHL fight against Morgan Barron.

With the game seeming out of reach for the Jets, neither team played with a sense of urgency in the third period. Aside from Mason Appleton and Cole Perfetti's goals, the Isles held on to win 6-3. Semyon Varlamov was tremendous, saving 32 of 35 shots on goal.

The Devils have been playing .500 hockey as of late. Before playing the Ottawa Senators, they had won 3 out of 5 games but lost 6 of 5 prior. Timo Meier has gotten hot, scoring 4 goals in 5 games. Jack Hughes has also recorded 5 points in 5 games, giving the 22-year-old 67 on the season. With the defensive struggles of the Devils, most of their losses have been high-scoring games. As a result, all of their games have been decided in regulation since losing 1-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes on February 10th. To summarize, if the Devils do not produce offense, they do not win games.


The Islanders have not had much success against the Devils this season. The first matchup came on October 20th at UBS Arena. Nelson and Dougie Hamilton each scored in the first period to leave the frame tied. Tyler Toffoli scored on the powerplay 21 seconds into the second period. Nelson re-tied the game just 1:16 after, but a cross-checking penalty on Matt Martin handed Luke Hughes another powerplay goal. Bo Horvat tied the game once more just 3:34 later to leave the frame 3-3. The third period opened with a hooking penalty on Pierre Engvall that to the Devils' fourth powerplay goal from Jack Hughes. With the game seemingly over, Horvat tied it once more with just 1:11 remaining. However, Jack Hughes would score his second goal of the game midway into overtime to win 5-4.

The second matchup came on November 28th at the Prudential Center. As per their previous meeting, each team scored in the first period on goals from Horvat and Michael McLeod. Dawson Mercer broke the tie 4:19 into the second period. However, the Isles responded with 3 goals within 4:41 of each other from Barzal, Clutterbuck, and J.G. Pageau. Unfortunately, this was the pre-Patrick Roy Islanders where no lead was safe. The Devils came back with 3 goals in the third period including Curtis Lazar's game-winner with 23 seconds left to win 5-4.


The Islanders' fourth line has shown their most productivity all season. Clutterbuck had his first multi-goal performance since March 21st, 2023 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. MacLean and Martin were each featured in a fight against the Jets. Barzal has scored a goal in each of the last 2 games, also elevating the play of new linemates Fasching and Lee. The only line yet to catch fire in recent games is the new third line which has included a mix of Casey Cizikas, Engvall, Simon Holmstrom, and Pageau. With Varlamov earning his first victory on Saturday since March 10th against the Anaheim Ducks, Ilya Sorokin will get the nod this evening.

The Devils have received positive contributions from their younger stars despite an overall disappointing season. Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt lead the team with 67 points each. However, it is their defense and goaltending that are at fault for the team's mediocre record. Kevin Bahl leads the team with just 93 blocked shots, showing their defensemen are not playing well around the crease. The Devils have also used 5 different goaltenders this season, acquiring Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen at the trade deadline.



Brock Nelson - Bo Horvat - Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Hudson Fasching
Casey Cizikas - J.G. Pageau - Pierre Engvall
Matt Martin - Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Robert Bortuzzo

Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov


Timo Meier - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Jack Hughes - Erik Haula - Alexander Holtz
Ondrej Palat - Tomas Nosek - Dawson Mercer
Kurtis MacDermid - Chris Tierney - Curtis Lazar

Kevin Bahl - John Marino
Luke Hughes - Nick DeSimone
Brendan Smith - Simon Nemec

Kaapo Kahkonen
Jake Allen