Game 74: Crucial Run Starts in Long Island

Match-up – New Jersey Devils (31-28-14) @ New York Islanders (28-35-10)
TV – MSG, MSG Plus
Puck drop – 7:00 p.m. ET
Season series – Devils lead 2-1
Last 10: Devils 4-5-1 | Islanders 5-3-2
Projected starting goalies – Cory Schneider vs Anders Nilsson

Projected lines for the Islanders
Anders Lee – Frans Nielsen – Josh Bailey
John Persson – Brock Nelson – Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin – Ryan Strome – Colin McDonald
Mike Halmo – Casey Cizikas – Johan Sundstrom

Calvin de Haan – Travis Hamonic
Kevin Czuczman – Thomas Hickey
Matt Donavon – Matt Carkner

Projected lines for the Devils:
Tuomo Ruutu – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Adam Henrique – Patrik Elias – Damien Brunner
Ryane Clowe – Dainius Zubrus – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier

Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Jon Merrill – Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas – Pete Harrold

Pre-Game Thoughts

The Devils need to capitalize on the losses by the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets. The Devils remained 4 points behind the Wild Card race and need to win tonight in order to keep from possibly falling further back, especially since Detroit and the Leafs, two teams NJ is battling for a Wild Card play each other tonight so a Wild Card team will have 82 points at the end of the night. Washington and Columbus are also in action today.

NJ needs more out of Eric Gelinas. He’s got a rocket of a shot but hasn’t been taking a lot of them over the last few games. He’s also a big body that needs to throw it around and get physical but at times he seems to back off from doing that. Word from TG yesterday was that coaches were working with him during practice.

Treat this game for what it is, a trap game. The Islanders are out and the Devils are fighting for a Wild Card spot but the Devils can’t go into this game thinking the Islanders aren’t going to show up. The Islanders are 5-3-2 in their last 10 which is slightly better than NJ has been playing. On top of that, this is the Islanders and they always give NJ a tough time.

Shoot the damn puck. If the outlook on Brodeur is that he’s had a terrible year, then the same is said about Nabokov as he had numbers pretty close to Broduer. The bonus tonight is that Nabokov has had a better season than his backups and its not Nabokov getting the call tonight.

This game will start one three-in-four-night set, two days off, another three-in-four-night, two days off, and then a three-in-four-night to end it all. This is it, the stretch run so strap yourselves in because the Devils aren’t quite out of this yet but they need to start winning game after game.

About Darren

Darren is a long time fan of the New Jersey Devils and had been covering the New Jersey Devils for various websites before starting up Running With The Devils in the fall of 2009.