The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (46-27-7) face off against the New York Islanders (34-36-10). This is the final game of the regular season between both teams. The Devils currently lead the season series, 3-2-0.
The Last Islanders Game: The Islanders lost to Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-3, Thursday night. In the final game at the Igloo, Sidney Crosby collected four points to become the third youngest player to ever reach the 500 point mark. Martin Biron was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots in the first period. Dwayne Roloson allowed three goals on 25 shots in relief.
The Last Devils Game: The Florida Panthers defeated the Devils, 3-2, Thursday night. Patrik Elias opened the scoring 59 seconds into the second period. Florida scored the next three, including the game-winning goal from Nathan Horton in the third period. Ex-Devil Scott Clemmensen stopped 44 shots in the victory.
The Last Islanders – Devils Game: The Islanders defeated the Devils, 4-2, March 13th on Long Island. Jon Sim broke a 1-1 tie in the second period, and Sean Bergenheim added the dagger with a shorthanded goal in the third period. Devils goalie Yann Danis stopped 29 shots in the loss.
Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils had a solid effort against the Florida Panthers Thursday night, but the offense came out on the short end of the stick. Clemmensen had a big hand in that, stonewalling the Devils and thwarting their best efforts tie the game. With the Islanders inability to even look competitive against the Penguins, the Devils fell back into a tie for second seed in the conference and first in the Atlantic Division.
The Devils effort in the past three games hasn’t been terrible. As a matter of fact, I’d say they’re playing some great hockey. Thursday night was a letdown, but the team still played hard. They come into tonight’s game playing the Islanders, a team that always plays the Devils tough. The Devils can’t take this team lightly. They’re always a thorn in the Devils’ side, and they have some young guys licking their lips and ready to play the spoiler. To prevent a loss, the Devils just need to continue to play solid hockey. Pittsburgh provided a solid blueprint for defeating the Islanders. Drive to the net and put shots on their goalies. Biron (who I’m sure Philadelphia wants back now) and Roloson aren’t superstars by any stretch of the imagination. If the Devils can continue their aggressive style, they should be able to win this game.
Update (5:17 p.m.): None of the regular players will be getting any rest tonight. Coach Jacques Lemaire wanted to rest defenseman Colin White, but relented when White begged him to play. If the Devils win tonight and the Penguins lose, they can clinch their ninth Atlantic Division. If the Devils win and both the Penguins and Buffalo lose, the Devils win the division and clinch the second seed in the Eastern Conference. So, let’s go Thrashers and Senators!
Gametime is 7 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSGPlus or WFAN.
Use this as tonight’s open game thread. Comment, banter, and please talk only about the NHL action going on between the Devils and Islanders or some other games of importance. Also, make sure you keep it clean and respectful.