New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils: Game Preview # 81

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It's the penultimate home game for the New Jersey Devils. With no playoffs and no draft position to worry about, this first of two final home games to end the season has very little at stake. This is a preview of the game with notes on both teams.

The Time: 7:30 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, MSG+ 2; Radio - WCBS.

The Matchup: The New York Islanders (31-37-11; SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey) at the New Jersey Devils (34-29-17).

The Last Devils Game: The Devils were not ready to play and one wonders if Deboer was still yelling at them after practice earlier in the week. Ottawa came out and dictated play, registering nine of the first ten shots of the game. Cory Schneider had to be sharp to keep the Devils in it. After that, the possession-giant that is the New Jersey Devils awoke and peppered Robin Lehner for thirty-nine shots over the rest of the game. Unfortunately, Michael Ryder scored the Devils lone goal against the Ottawa Senators. Yes, one goal against the Ottawa Senators. It would go to a shootout where...yea, you know what happened. John's recap is here.

The Last Islanders Game: The Islanders played last night and won 2-0 against the Montreal Canadians. Evgeni Nabokov was in net to record his 59th career shutout, so I would imagine Anders Nilsson gets the nod against our Devils. The two goals came from Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson on the power play, though this game would make headlines for Douglas Murray's hit on Johan Sundstrom that knocked him from the game. You can see the hit here. Needless to say, those at Lighthouse Hockey weren't too happy. The recap from the game is here.

The Last Devils-Islanders Game: As the Devils were pushing towards the final playoff spot, this was a game they needed to come away with two points. Alas, they did not, as the curse of the shootout reared its head and struck down the Devils best efforts at beating World Beater Anders Nilsson. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but it beats saying the obvious: this team's luck is unprecedented and not in a good way.

They started slowly but eventually started to assert themselves after Cory Schneider gave up a pretty bad goal. Adam Henrique tied it and the Devils had many chances to go ahead, but could not find the breakthrough. Sound familiar? Schneider would let the first shooter score against him and that was all the Islanders would need. John's recap is here.

The Goal: Win, I suppose. Of course we want the Devils to win, but it matters little in the scheme of things. The Devils are out of the playoffs and their draft status cannot change, so I suppose the goal is to win for the fans and send them out on a positive note. Will this be the second-to-last time we see Jaromir Jagr in a Devils uniform? Will Martin Brodeur have a nice sendoff from the fans in this game or Sunday's game against the Bruins? I, for one, would just like an entertaining game. Give me a 6-5 game, win or lose; it'd be refreshing to see something different than a 2-1 game with lots of "chances" but few goals. This is entertainment after all.

These Islander Kids: You may know Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and...who else exactly? Between injuries and trades, the Islanders will send a lineup onto the ice consisting of household names Anders Lee, John Persson, Mike Halmo, Brett Gallant, Matt Donovan, Scott Mayfield, and Kevin Czuczman. It seems to be working as the Islanders have won the Corsi battle in five of their last six games.

Your Take: Now I'd like to hear from you. What will you be watching for in this 81st game of the season? Thanks for reading and here's hoping the end of the season doesn't have the same "We put in enough effort to deserve better" narrative doesn't have to be heard.

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