Game Preview: NY Islanders @ New Jersey Devils

The Isles are 0-2-1 against the Devils in 2023-24.
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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85. 7:00 PM EST. 37-27-16. Isles at Devils. MSGN. April 15, 2024. 38-38-5. . 106

The NY Islanders (37-27-16, 90 points) will look to clinch a second straight playoff appearance in the Garden State as they take on the New Jersey Devils (38-38-5, 81 points) at the Prudential Center.

LAST GAME

The Islanders' last game was on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The first period went scoreless despite Barclay Goodrow and Kaapo Kakko each taking penalties. 

The second period opened with the Rangers successfully killing off Kakko and Ryan Lindgren's penalties. Just as Lindgren's penalty was expiring, Braden Schneider scored a shorthanded goal to make the game 1-0. Pierre Engvall responded with a goal set up by Brock Nelson. However, the goal was called back because Engvall was offside. Moments later, Nelson took matters into his own hands and tied the game 1-1. In the final seconds of the period, Nelson scored once more on a rap around from Hudson Fasching to take a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers took all the momentum in the third period despite taking two more penalties. Adam Pelech was rewarded with a penalty shot after Artemi Panarin hooked him on a breakaway opportunity. Immediately after, Panarin tied the game on an assist from Vincent Trochek. The game remained tied until a shootout when Panarin and Trochek each netted goals passed Ilya Sorokin to win 3-2.

The Devils' last game was on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers had an immaculate opportunity to score in the first period when Erik Haula and Brendan Smith took back-to-back penalties. However, it wasn't until the second period when Travis Konecny finally scored a shorthanded goal to make the game 1-0. Despite being outshot the rest of the game, Samuel Ersson saved all 20 shots to shut out the Devils 1-0.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

The Devils have controlled the season series against the Islanders in 2023-24. Their first two games each ended in 5-4 decisions in favor of the Devils. The Islanders had leads in both games but allowed late third-period goals in each of them. Jack Hughes scored 2:19 into overtime at UBS Arena on October 20th. Curtis Lazar scored the game-winner with 23 seconds in regulation at the Prudential Center on November 28th.

Their last matchup was on March 24th at UBS Arena. The first period featured five penalties between the two teams. With Casey Cizikas still in the box to open the second period, Timo Meierscored to take a 1-0 lead. Just minutes later, Jack Hughes and Alexander Holtz each scored goals to make the game 3-0. Despite putting 36 shots on goal throughout this game, Kaapo Kahkonen was tremendous as he shut out the Islanders 4-0.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Palmieri has scored in 4 of the last 5 games. Nelson seems to be heating up with two goals against the Rangers on Saturday. Had Engvall's goal not been overturned, he would have scored in back-to-back games. Cizikas continues to earn accolades for his performance on the Isles' top line. Noah Dobsonwas missing in action against the Rangers after being described by Patrick Roy as day-to-day. Sorokin had one of his best performances this season on Saturday, giving the team confidence he is beyond his recent struggles.

The Devils have had a disappointing season after nearly winning the Metropolitan Division just one year ago. Meier has bounced back after a rough first half, bringing his goal total to 27. Jesper Bratt leads the team in points with 82. In just 62 games played, Jack Hughes continues to sparkle having 27 goals and 47 assists. The team's struggles have been mainly in the net as their goaltenders have a combined .896 save percentage.

PROJECTED LINES

ISLANDERS

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

Alexander Romanov - Sebastian Aho
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Robert Bortuzzo

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin

DEVILS

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