NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 17th
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (12-29-3) at New York Islanders (14-22-7), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have been at
the bottom of the Eastern Conference for most of the season and the clubs will
battle each other today, when the Isles host a matinee at Nassau Coliseum.
The Devils are dead last in the NHL with just 27 points on the year and
recently had a two-game win streak halted. New York is eight points ahead of
New Jersey, but is still seeded 14th in the East and tied with Edmonton for
28th in the NHL.
The Islanders, who halted a three-game slide with Saturday's win over Buffalo,
have won both meetings with the Devils this season and New Jersey managed just
one goal in those two contests against its Atlantic Division rival. The Isles
notched a 2-0 home win over the Devs on Nov. 26 and then recorded a 5-1
decision Dec. 23 in New Jersey.
New York has taken three of four, four of six and six of the last 10
encounters with the Devils overall. Jersey has lost two straight, five of six
and eight of its last 11 games on Long Island.
John Tavares was the hero for the Isles in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Sabres,
as he posted a natural hat trick in the second period to help New York win for
just the second time in six games (2-3-1).
Tavares' hat trick was the second of his career as his first came in a loss to
Florida on October 23. The sophomore now has a team-high 18 goals on the
season and also leads the Islanders with 33 points.
"It was one of those special games for him," said New York head coach Jack
Capuano about Tavares. "He had three and had a chance for four. As good as he
was offensively tonight, he was that much better at the defensive end. He's
just a really special talent out there. He's been working hard and hard work
Blake Comeau and Michael Grabner each had a goal while Matt Moulson added
three assists for the Islanders.
Rick DiPietro made 40 saves to earn the win in his return to the lineup. The
Isles' No. 1 netminder had missed five games with a strained adductor muscle.
Today's tilt is the fourth test in a five-game homestand for the Isles, who
are 8-8-4 at the Coliseum this year.
The Devils had won two straight for the first time since late November with
consecutive wins over Tampa Bay on Jan. 9 and 14, but New Jersey was dealt a
3-2 overtime loss in Florida on Saturday. Dmitry Kulikov scored with 1:24 left
in OT to give the Panthers the two points at BankAtlantic Center.
In the extra session, Kulikov faked a shot at the top of the left circle, used
a toe drag to get the puck into the slot, and snapped a wrister past Martin
Brodeur's glove for the win.
David Clarkson and Nick Palmieri scored for the Devils and Brodeur stopped 19
shots in defeat.
"One point is better than none," said Clarkson. "It's something we hope we can
build on. We didn't come out tonight with the jump we had in the previous two,
but we got a point and that's something."
New Jersey's three-game point streak is the club's longest of the season. The
Devils have still lost 12 of their last 13 road games and are just 5-16-1 as
the guest this year.
The Devils expect to have defenseman Anton Volchenkov back today after he
missed the last three games for personal reason. Volchenkov had returned to
Russia to attend his father's funeral last week, but he is now back in North
America and apparently ready to re-join his club.
01/17 10:56:18 ET