Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with a familiar foe, the New York Islanders.
Islanders vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 205 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 73-105-22-5 against the Islanders. The Devils average 2.99 goals against the Islanders, but New Jersey allows the Islanders to average 3.57 goals against them. Last season, the teams met six times, with the Devils winning the season series, 4-2-0.
The teams first met on November 6, with the Devils defeating the Isles, 2-1, at the Prudential Center. Frans Nielsen gave the Isles the early lead, scoring an even-strength goal at 6:23 of the first period. Cory Murphy tied the game at 2:38, pulling the Devils into a tie, 1-1. Brian Rolston scored the eventual game-winner on the powerplay at 13:40 of the second period. Martin Biron stopped 31 shots in the loss. Yann Danis made 24 saves to defeat his former team.
The Devils blew out the Isles in their next meeting, defeating the Islanders, 6-1, at the Prudential Center. The Isles once again struck first, with Richard Park scoring the game’s first goal at 11:18 of the first period. The Devils would come alive, scoring six unanswered goals over the final two periods. Mike Mottau started the run, evening the score at one with a goal 58 seconds into the second period. Rolston put the Devils ahead, 2-1, with a powerplay goal at 12:06 of the period.
The Devils pulled away in the third period, scoring four goals. Patrik Elias pushed the lead to 3-1 with a powerplay tally at 10:30 of the third period. Zach Parise put the Devils ahead, 4-1, with an even-strength goal at 11:54 of the period. Rolston scored his second goal of the game at 12:32, increasing the lead to 5-1. Elias netted his second goal, pushing the lead to 6-1 at 19:15 of the third.
The Islanders got revenge for the blowout, blanking the Devils, 4-0, on January 18 at Nassau Coliseum. Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal, netting an even-strength tally at 1:07 of the first period. Mark Streit scored a powerplay goal at 3:44 of the first, increasing the lead, 2-0. Josh Bailey continued the scoring in the second, giving the Isles a 3-0 lead at 15:42 of the period. Moulson capped the scoring, netting his second goal at 18:05 of the period.
The Devils bounced back, defeating the Islanders, 4-2, five days later on Long Island. Jamie Langenbrunner opened the scoring, giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period. The Islanders answered in the second period, with Kyle Okposo tying the game at one with a powerplay goal. Jack Hillen gave the Isles a lead, 2-1, with a powerplay tally at 11:36 of the period. But that lead wouldn’t survive the period, as Parise tied the game with a powerplay tally of his own at 19:28 of the period.
The Devils would once again pull away in the third period. Bryce Salvador scored the go-ahead goal at 13:11, putting the Devils ahead, 3-2. Parise added an insurance goal, putting the puck into an open net at 19:14 of the period.
The Islanders came back to defeat the Devils, 4-2, on March 13 at Nassau Coliseum. Mottau opened the scoring, putting the Devils on top, 1-0, at 2:52 of the first period. Freddy Meyer evened the score, 1-1, with an even-strength goal at 17:23 of the period. The Isles would control the second period, scoring two goals to take the lead. Jon Sim scored at 11:59 to give the Isles a lead, 2-1. Streit increased the lead to 3-1 with a powerplay goal at 12:49 of the second. Ilya Kovalchuk brought the Devils to within one, 3-2, at 1:41 of the third period. Sean Bergenheim put the game out of reach, scoring a short-handed goal at 11:33 of the final period.
The Devils pounded the Islanders, 7-1, in their final meeting of the season to win the Atlantic Division. Dainius Zubrus, Dean McAmmond and Parise scored within a span of 4:54 to put the Devils ahead, 3-0, in the first period. Zubrus opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead at 10:54 of the first period. Parise increased the lead to 2-0 at 14:18 of the period with an even-strength tally. McAmmond finished the first period scoring, extending the lead to 3-1 with an even-strength goal.
The Devils stretched the lead to 5-0 in the second period. Elias scored on the man-advantage at 11:16 of the second, increasing the lead to 4-0. Rolston would answer with a powerplay tally, putting the Devils ahead, 5-0, at 19:11 of the period.
New Jersey continued the scoring in the third period. Kovalchuk continued the rout, netting an even-strength goal at 8:47 to increase the lead to 6-0. Moulson ended the shutout, scoring a powerplay goal at 13:10 of the period to put the Islanders on the board. Elias capped the scoring, netting his second goal at 18:24 of the period.
Devils vs. Islanders – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Islanders will face off six times during the regular season. The Islanders didn’t make many moves this offseason, so they’ll bring back a similar group from the 2009-2010 season. The team signed free agent defensemen Milan Jurcina and Mark Eaton to bolster their blueline. The team also re-signed leading scorer Moulson, inking him to a one-year deal. The Islanders also signed free-agent center Doug Weight.
The Islanders are clearly a young team looking to build a solid core. They aren’t going to wow anyone, and it would be a shock if the Islanders competed for a playoff spot. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous to the Devils. The Islanders have a penchant for playing the Devils tough, and these are an important 12 points within the division. This is a team the Devils need to beat four or five times out of six. Last year the Devils played well against the Islanders, and I’d hope that continues during the 2010-2011 season.
Rolston recorded six points (four goals, two assists) against the Islanders last season. Three of his four goals came on the powerplay. Too bad he can’t do that all the time…Travis Zajac recorded seven points, all assists, to lead the Devils last season…Mottau scored two goals last season, both against the Islanders…Martin Brodeur enjoys playing against the Atlantic Division rivals. In 76 career games against the Isles (74 starts), the Devils’ goalie is 44-24-4-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. He’s also shut the Islanders out 10 times, which is the highest among all NHL teams…John Tavares, last year’s highly touted rookie, recorded three points, all assists, against the Devils…Moulson scored three goals against New Jersey, most among Islanders players.
Parise and Danis Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images