New York Islanders @ New Jersey Devils
Islanders aim for first win on the road
Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
|Team Record: 5-11-4
Last Game: 1-0 L vs. NJD
Season Series: 0-1-0 of 6
|Team Record: 12-8-1
Last Game: 1-0 W vs. NYI
Season Series: 1-0-0 of 6
The Isles sophomore forward brings 110 percent to each shift every night. Though he doesn't play top-line minutes, averaging 11:29 each game, Martin makes every shift count. Not afraid to go in the corners and battle for the puck, he's a strong physical presence out on the ice, leading the league in hits (95). But he's also shown that he can contribute offensively as he's recorded 41 shots on goal (good for fourth on the team), and scored 2 goals and 2 assists in the first 20 games this season.
Drafted fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, this rookie defenseman has been getting top-line minutes on the Devils blue line. At 19-years-old, he averages 22:49 of ice time per game, which is tops amongst all Devils defenseman and second on the team behind Ilya Kovalchuk. Though he doesn't lead the team in scoring with one goal and six assists, he's been an important part of the Devils lineup each night, including taking that initial shot which led to Petr Sykora's game-winning goal on Friday.
Friday afternoon's matinee could have gone in a completely different direction had it not been for fantastic goaltending from both netminders who suited up at Nassau Coliseum. With a 1-0 final score in favor of the Devils, both Al Montoya and Johan Hedberg were shelled with shots at different points in the game and made important saves to keep the score close.
Head Coach Jack Capuano made it clear in his post game press conference that the Islanders were playing too calculated and didn't take full advantage of all their scoring opportunities, so if they make that adjustment prior to Saturday afternoon's faceoff, this bout could get real exciting.
However, special teams made all the difference in Friday's final score. The Islanders couldn't get their power play off the ground as they had three opportunities with the man advantage in the first period alone, but could only get five shots on net. The Devils have the best penalty kill rating in the league, killing off 94.0 percent of all penalties this season and all 21 penalties in their last four games.
Not to belittle the importance of goals at even strength, but if the Islanders expect to defeat the Devils on Saturday, scoring a power play goal could be the deciding factor.
The New Jersey Devils haven't been overly impressive on the offensive end over the last two games - or for the entire season, for that matter - but outstanding special teams play and goaltending have lifted the club.
The New York Islanders' inability to score is a major cause of their freefall.
New Jersey goes for its sixth consecutive victory in this matchup of Atlantic Division rivals Saturday when the Islanders try to split this home-and-home series with their first road win since March.
Despite scoring just twice in regulation in their last two games, the Devils (12-8-1) have won both thanks to stopping all 10 power plays and Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg combining to turn aside 58 of 59 shots. (Continue Reading)
The Islanders and Devils faced each other Friday afternoon in the first half of a home-and-home. The game was held scoreless through 14:13 of the second period when Devils forward Petr Sykora found the back of the net on the power play, 1-0. Michael Grabner missed an opportunity to tie the score at one when he was shut down by Johan Hedberg on the penalty shot. Al Montoya made 22 saves in the losing effort.
|- Mark Katic - Shoulder (9/24 vs. NJ) - 20 games missed (Out indefinitely)
- Evgeni Nabokov - Groin (11/17) - 4 games missed (Out indefinitely)
- Mark Eaton - Knee (11/21) - 2 games missed (6 weeks)
IslandersPower Play %: 14.9%
Penalty Kill %: 79.2%
Home Record: 5-6-2
Road Record: 0-5-2
Goals For: 38
Goals Against: 66
DevilsPower Play %: 13.3%
Penalty Kill %: 94.0%
Home Record: 5-3-1
Road Record: 7-5-0
Goals For: 55
Goals Against: 55
(Answer from 11/25: Garth Snow. Snow stopped the last Devils penalty shot against an Islanders goalie on Dec. 10, 2003. Islanders’ goalies are 2 for 2 on Devils penalty shots with the John Vanbiesbrouck stopping the other one.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart following Head Coach Jack Capuano's morning media availability.
Devils (Expected) LineupsForwards: Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk, Sykora-Elias-Zubrus, Tedenby-Carter-Clarkson, Mills-Sestito-Janssen
Defensemen: Greene-Larsson, Tallinder-Fayne, Salvador-Volchenkov
Goaltenders: Brodeur, Hedberg
Expected Scratches: Zajac, Josefson, Boulton
Islanders Captain Mark Streit on the Isles 1-0 loss to the Devils on Friday afternoon: "If you don’t get any chances then you have a problem, but I think we had some scoring opportunities. We have to work on the PP. We did a lot of good things, but there are things we need to do better, especially against teams like Jersey who play well defensively. They don’t give up a lot, but you lose 1-0, you did a lot of things right, you just came up short."