Last Saturday, the NY Islanders skated to a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that ended in a shootout. The Isles could not solve Samuel Ersson in goal for Philly, but Ilya Sorokin stood tall in the goalie battle stopping all 40 shots he faced until the shootout. Tyson Foerster scored the only goal in the breakaway competition past Sorokin's glove, while Bo Horvat, Mat Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kyle Palmieri all missed their attempts for New York. It was a defensive battle for most of the game until the goalies shined in overtime, but what obviously did not shine for either side were their offenses. The Islanders will look to get back in the win column after their previous three-game win streak was snapped over the weekend.
The New Jersey Devils got back to their winning ways after a seven-game slump that saw them go 1-6 during that time, notably while Jack Hughes was injured. They took down the Buffalo Sabres handily by a score of 7-2 at the Prudential Center on Saturday led by Tyler Toffoli's two-goal output. The Devils had eight players register two points in the dominating win, five of which had one goal and one assist. One of those players was Alexander Holtz, who was especially noticeable for the Devils, having six shots on goal with his 13 minutes of ice time. An underrated part about this game was that Vitek Vanicek only needed to make ten saves in this game to earn the win for New Jersey, as Buffalo only mustered 12 shots all game. The Islanders will need to shoot the puck much more than that to come out of Jersey with a win.
The Islanders have already played the Devils once this season, a 5-4 loss in overtime courtesy of Jack Hughes. Brock Nelson and Horvat both had two goals for the Isles, as did Jack Hughes for the Devils. His brother Luke Hughes scored his second career goal with a blast from the blue line on the power play. Jack finished with four points in total in the Devils' victory.
Last season, the Blue and Orange won the season series against the Devils two games to one, winning 5-1 in their most recent matchup at UBS Arena and 6-4 in a high-scoring affair at The Rock. All three games featured a two-goal performance on the winner's side. Palmieri and Zach Parise both scored against their former team in the home win, with Palmieri scoring two goals. Nelson scored two of his own in the 6-4 road win, one of which stood as the game-winner. The Devil's lone win was a 4-1 final in the 5th game of the season, where Ondrej Palat scored two including the game-winner. if recent history has taught us anything, somebody is scoring two goals tonight.
Players to Watch
A sneaky player to watch tonight for New York is Pierre Engvall. Engvall quietly has nine assists this season in 19 games and has been playing well as of late. The former 7th-round pick will be playing on the second line where he has been a mainstay next to Nelson and Palmieri for most of the season. Engvall is a smooth skater and does not make the wrong plays very often when he has puck possession. Engvall also scored in his only game against the Devils while wearing an Islanders jersey.
Jesper Bratt is one of the more underrated forwards on the Devils, but he is a lethal scorer and playmaker. A typical linemate of Nico Hischier, Bratt has six points in his last six games and had two assists in their 7-2 win against the Sabres. The former 6th-round pick has eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points in just 19 games this season, with 16 of those points coming on the power play. The Isles' penalty kill is already spotty as is, but he will make them pay if they take penalties tonight.
Mat Barzal - Bo Horvat - Simon Holmstrom
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee - JG Pageau - Oliver Wahlstrom
Julien Gauthier- Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Noah Dobson - Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Grant Hutton
Tyler Toffoli - Jack Hughes - Dawson Mercer
Ondrej Palat - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Curtis Lazar - Michael McLeod - Alexander Holtz
Maxwell Willman - Chris Tierney - Nathan Bastian
Jonas Seigenthaler - Dougie Hamilton
Kevin Bahl - John Marino
Luke Hughes - Colin Miller