New York Islanders (26-20-10) at New Jersey Devils (24-23-10)
7 p.m. Prudential Center
Radio: AM970 - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News
Fresh off a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders set their sights on a back-to-back, home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils, starting Saturday night in Newark (7 p.m., MSG+).
While the Islanders are focused on moving up in the standings - they're one point out of the Eastern Conference Wild Card - they can't take the teams behind them lightly. New Jersey currently sits four points back of the Islanders. While Saturday offers a chance to move up in the standings, the Islanders have an opportunity to push another team down the ladder.
Video: NYI@NJD: Cizikas opens up the scoring for Islanders
Isles on Fire vs. Devils:
This is the first meeting of the season between the Metro Division rivals, who have not played each other since Feb. 19, 2016. The Islanders went 3-0-1 against the Devils last season, winning the final three meetings and started a lengthy shutout streak during that span.
Per The Skinny:
The Isles blanked the Devils in each of their last two meetings and will carry a 135:57 shutout streak against New Jersey into the game on Saturday. In their last meeting (2/19/2016), Casey Cizikas scored the game's only goal 1:59 into the first period - the earliest goal in a 1-0 game in Islander history.
Video: Gionta and Cizikas talk Islanders and Doug Weight
Gionta Could Face Former Team:
Stephen Gionta could play his former team for the first time on Saturday. Gionta played 270 games for the Devils from 2010-16, scoring 50 points (15G, 35A) over that span. Prior to joining the Islanders, the Devils were the only team Gionta had known. The 5'7 winger has three assists in seven games for the Islanders this season, including a hard-working assist on Andrew Ladd's goal against the Rangers on Thursday.
Gionta's status could be impacted by Cal Clutterbuck's, as Clutterbuck - who has missed seven straight games with a lower-body injury - practiced with the team on Friday. Gionta skated in Clutterbuck's place with Nikolay Kulemin and Casey Cizikas on Thursday.
The Devils are 4-2-1 since the All-Star break, but are coming in off a 3-0 shutout loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Taylor Hall leads the Devils with 37 points (14G, 24A) in his first season with the team. Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique are tied for the team lead in goals with15 apiece.
Cory Schneider will start in goal for the Devils on Saturday per Andrew Gross. Schneider is 18-17-8 this season with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage, a statistical downturn for the all-star netminder who boasts a career 2.23 GAA and a .923 SV%.
Sergey Kalinin was waived by the Devils on Friday.