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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, January 18th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (32-13-1) at New York Islanders (21-19-8), 2 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging New York Islanders will try to stay hot when they host the first-place New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum in today's Atlantic Division matinee.

The Islanders, who are tied for eighth in the East standings with 50 points, have won three straight and five of their last six games. New York can tie a season-high winning streak with another victory today. The Isles last won four in a row from October 28-November 2.

New Jersey, which leads the Atlantic with 65 points, has lost two straight and three of its last four contests. The Devils are capping a four-game road trip this afternoon on Long Island.

The Devils are 2-0 against New York this season and have taken seven of nine overall in this series. However, both meetings so far this year were staged in New Jersey and the Devils have lost two in a row and five of their last seven at the Coliseum.

The Isles are coming off a close victory on Saturday night as they edged visiting Buffalo, 3-2, in a shootout decision. Trent Hunter picked the top right corner to end the shootout in the eighth round and Rick DiPietro earned his first win in over a year behind 31 saves.

DiPietro was making only his second start of the season and seventh in two full campaigns after a long recovery from knee surgery.

"I'm trying not to cry on the ice," DiPietro said of his comeback. "I told myself I wouldn't cry. But it's an emotional time for me, and it's been a long time coming. It's been a rough road -- to get the win is amazing."

Sean Bergenheim and John Tavares scored in regulation for the Islanders, who were coming off an emphatic 6-0 rout of the Red Wings Tuesday that kicked off a three-game homestand.

The Islanders are 12-8-2 as the host this year and have won four in a row at the Coliseum.

The Devils began their road trip with a 1-0 shootout win over the rival New York Rangers, but have since dropped games in Phoenix and Colorado. The Avalanche posted a 3-1 win over Jersey on Saturday as Craig Anderson stopped 37-of-38 shots to lead Colorado at Pepsi Center.

Rob Niedermayer lit the lamp for the Devils, who fell to 16-6-1 as the guest this year. Martin Brodeur turned aside 25-of-27 shots in defeat.

"We didn't play well tonight. We spotted them two goals early on. We got to play 60 minutes. That cost us the game," Brodeur said.

The Devils also lost forward Patrik Elias to a head/neck injury after he absorbed a hit early in the second period from Colorado's Ryan Wilson. Elias was taken off the ice on a stretcher, but x-rays taken on his head, neck and spine were negative. Still, Elias will miss today's game and is expected to miss at least 10 days.

01/18 10:48:22 ET


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