The key to victory for the NY Islanders tonight against the NJ Devils

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

The NY Islanders make their way across the Hudson River tonight, taking on the NJ Devils for the second time this season. Amid a six-game point streak, the Isles should have one thing on their mind against a high-flying Devils team - and that’s staying out of the penalty box.

In the Devils' trip to UBS Arena earlier this season, the Isles allowed four power play goals in five opportunities. The Islanders penalty killers were overmatched, as Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes finished the night with three points on the man advantage. The Isles ultimately fell 5-4 in OT.

Since that game, the Devils' power play has thrived, and Isles' penalty kill has faltered. The Devils power play leads the league, clicking at a 37.5% rate, while the Isles are killing off the man-advantage just 70.3% of the time - second worst in the NHL.

If the Isles can manage to stay out of the sin bin, it’ll be the best way for them to gain the upper hand tonight. While the Devils have flourished up a man, they are towards the bottom of the league at 5v5. 

Through 19 games, the Devils have scored 33 times while allowing 44 at 5v5 - a goals-for percentage (GF%) of 42.86% according to Natural Stat Trick, third worst in the NHL. On the other end, the Isles have scored 33 while allowing 32 goals, a GF% of 50.68%, putting them in the middle of the pack. 

If the Isles find themselves in penalty trouble, it could be a long night, especially with Bratt and Hughes on the ice. Hughes is 11th in the league in power play points with 12, despite missing five games, and Bratt is second with 16 points, trailing only Nikita Kucherov (18).

The game plan should be simple tonight. Play a disciplined game and give yourself an opportunity - otherwise, you’ll be chasing the scoreboard all night.