The New Jersey Devils visit UBS Arena on Thursday before the New York Islanders head down south for two weekend games in Florida. This will be an important match-up for both teams as they are coming off key victories.
New Jersey picked up their first victory of the season against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The Devils fell early to the Ducks but scored four unanswered goals from the second period to the end of the game to nail down the comeback victory.
The Devils have had difficulty keeping the puck out of their own net to start the season, and some are calling for Lindy Ruff’s job because of it.
The young talent is evident in the Devils’ lineup, but it has taken time to put together a consistent run of games.
The Islanders are hosting the Devils this evening at UBS Arena.
The Islanders are looking to make it three wins in a row after losing the opener to the Panthers.
Starting the season with four straight home games is much different from last year’s start to the season. The team started the first 13 games on the road to have the finishing touches completed at UBS Arena.
The home start has been just what the team needed to start the season on a positive note.
New York’s rival from across the bridge will present a difficult finale to the opening home stand, but the Islanders are clicking offensively. Oliver Wahlstrom is on a hot streak with three goals in two games and will look to continue his streak after sitting out in the opener.
Jesper Bratt has had a nice start to the season with five points, but Jack Hughes is yet to light the lamp. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton leads the team in goals with two and leads the team in time on ice so far.
If the Islanders are going to leave New York on a positive note, they will need to get pucks to the net early and often. Anders Lee will play a crucial role in creating chaos in front of the net. The defensive group from the Devils will not have much of an answer to Lee’s physical presence.
Both teams will need to stay out of the box, but the Islanders can take some comfort in knowing their penalty kill has been excellent to start the season.
Ilya Sorokin should return to the crease for the Islanders and cause trouble for the talented Devils forwards. Ultimately, the Islanders will need to take advantage of the Devils’ slow start and come out strong in the first period to set the tone.