It’s a Sunday afternoon clash as the New Jersey Devils enter the Barclays Center for the second time this season to tangle with the Islanders.
New Jersey Devils (15-10-4, 34 pints: 4th in Metropolitan Division)
New York Islanders (17-8-5, 39 points: 3rd in Metropolitan Division)
Today, 5:00 PM EST on MSG, MSG+
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
By Patrick Comia
It may not be the rivalry everyone expects, but it is still one to watch, especially with both teams off to successful starts this season.
The New Jersey Devils visit the Barclays Center in a divisional battle with nearby-area team New York Islanders, who are five points ahead in the standings.
Both teams have met two previous times this season, splitting the two games with alternating home wins.
The Devils have played the Isles tough, keeping the games to a one-goal difference to the victor, and doing a good job of not letting things get out of control.
The Islanders have proven time and time again that they will use their team speed and attack their opponents over and over, pressuring with four lines that have the ability to disrupt and score at will.
That’s where the defense will need to step up and keep their offensive weapons in front of them, and keep them out of the vision of Cory Schneider, who has played in the two previous meetings with New York. Last game, he was peppered with 26 shots, two of which found their way to the back of the net.
That needs to change, if the Devils want to stand a better chance of beating the explosiveness of the Isles. And with their top two centers out with injuries, New Jersey is going to need to put forth a structured effort and to minimize mistakes.
But, as has been the case for the Devils all season, you can’t pencil New Jersey as an automatic win, like in season’s past.
Proof of that was their Friday night win over the Red Wings. Down two goals heading into the third, New Jersey clawed back to force overtime, and pick the pockets of Detroit with a great goal from Kyle Palmieri.
— New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) December 12, 2015
New Jersey seems to be getting contributions from all four lines, which is making their offensive depth that much more dangerous.
But questions still remain for the Devils entering the Barclays Center this afternoon.
Will they be able to keep the line of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Brock Nelson off the score sheet? Can Bobby Farnham and Jordin Tootoo get under the skins of the Isles, especially that fourth line of Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, and Casey Cizikas?
Only the after the game has been played will fans know the answers.
One thing is for sure, the Devils won’t quit and plan on making it a long night in Brooklyn.