The Metropolitan Division: Part V – The New York Islanders
With the 2013-14 season looming closer, we’ll be taking a look at the new and old Division match-ups in the new formed Metropolitan Division in this weekly blog. This week we take a look at the New York Islanders, a team that saw a change of fortunes during the shortened 2013 season.
- New York Islanders at New Jersey: Friday, October 4, 7:00 PM
- New Jersey at New York Islanders: Saturday, December 28, 7:00 PM
- New Jersey at New York Islanders: Saturday, March 1, 1:00 PM
- New Jersey at New York Islanders: Saturday, March 29, 7:00 PM
- New York Islanders at New Jersey: Friday, April 11, 7:30 PM
The Devils face-off against the Islanders in their 2013 home-opener at the Prudential Center but won’t see the Islanders in New Jersey again until the second-to-last home game of the season. The Islanders are one of two teams the Devils will play five times under the new NHL alignment, with three of those meetings taking place at Nassau Colliseum.
The Islanders made a few moves during the 2013 off-season, with Cal Clutterbuck being their one big signing from free agency and former captain Mark Streit being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in return for a 4th round pick in next year’s draft and forward Shane Harper. John Tavares will now replace Streit as the team’s captain.
This past week, the Devils announced that they had offered a professional tryout contract to former Red Wings left wing Damien Brunner, which he has accepted. This will give the Devils an opportunity to scope out Brunner and see how he meshes with the team before deciding if they want to offer him a full contract. Last year Brunner tallied 26 points (12G, 14A) in 44 games in his first season with the Red Wings and could help add some more offensive strength to the Devils line-up.
The Devils finished last season 2-2-1 against the Islanders, giving up 5 goals twice to their Atlantic Division rivals, being outscored 14-11 in the series. The Devils’ special teams were a particular sore talking point from the series, with the Islanders scoring multiple short-handed and power-play goals against New Jersey.
Last season the Islanders grabbed the final playoff position, finishing in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. While they weren’t able to beat the Penguins in their first-round match-up, they were certainly able to give them a run for their money and were able to expose some goaltending weaknesses in the team. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled early on in the series by Pittsburgh and we very rarely saw him in the playoffs after that. The Islanders will be looking to build on last year’s success this season.
The Devils-Islanders games have always felt like some of the more underrated match-ups within the old Atlantic Division. With rivalries between the Rangers and Flyers, and high-powered games against the Penguins, the games against the Islanders always seemed to get pushed to the back-burner. That being said, they were always a good form of entertainment. Evgeni Nabokov has been improving his game over the past few years and the Islanders special teams have become much more refined and a threat even when they’re short-handed. Expect some high-scoring games between these two teams, much like there was last season, but a stellar game by either of these goaltenders would not be out of the question.
Posted on September 20, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL and tagged Damien Brunner, Devils, Evgeni Nabokov, John Tavares, Metropolitan Division, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, NHL. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.