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Game Preview: Islanders vs Devils

The Isles host their Tri-State rivals in a nationally-televised game (7 p.m., NBCSN)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha /




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The Islanders closed out 2019 with a 4-3 win at Washington on New Year's Eve. Casey Cizikas scored twice, while Brock Nelson and Tom Kuhhackl also got on the scoresheet. Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves as he made consecutive starts for the second time this season.  

New Jersey is coming off a 3-2 victory after winning a six-round shootout against Boston on New Year's Eve and the Devils have now won two-straight games. Blake Coleman and Jesper Bratt scored in regulation, while Jack Hughes and Damon Severson scored to clinch the shootout win. Mackenzie Blackwood made 28 saves.


- Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate and is projected to make his third-straight start and 20th of the season. Varlamov has a record of 14-3-3. 

- The Isles look to defeat their Metropolitian Division opponent in New Jersey and grab a much-needed win at home after losing their last three games on home ice. 

"For me, just re-establishing ourselves at the Coliseum is primary," head coach Barry Trotz said following morning skate. "We've lost the last three games in there with not great efforts."

- New Jersey used with the following line combinations and defensive pairings at their morning skate (courtesy of Amanda Stein):

Bratt - Hischier - Palmieri 

Coleman - Zajac - Gusev 

Wood - Zacha - Simmonds 

Boqvist - Rooney - Hayden 

Greene - Subban 

Severson - Vatanen 

Butcher - Mueller 




- Cizikas scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season. The center has three goals in as many games. Through 33 games, Cizikas has 12 points, including three shorthanded goals. Cizikas has four goals through his last eight games.  

- Nelson scored his 14th goal of the season. The center is ranked second in the Isles leaderboard in goals, assists (16) and points (30) through 38 games this season. Nelson is the Islanders nominee on the Last Men In ballot for the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend. Vote here from now until Jan.10.

- Kuhnhackl scored his second goal of the season and second in as many games. It was the first time in his career that Kuhnhackl scored in back-to-back games. The winger has three points through 12 games and has skated alongside Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee for the past two contests.  

- Nick Leddy assisted on Nelson's goal and has assists in his last three games. Through 30 games this season, Leddy has 17 points (3G, 14A), which ranks second among Isles defensemen behind Ryan Pulock.  

- Barzal assisted on Kuhnhackl's goal and has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last six games. Barzal leads the Isles in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34).  

- Varlamov made his 20th start of the season and made consecutive starts for the second time this season. With the win, Varlamov improved his record to 14-3-3. The Russian netminder has a 2.43 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. 

- The Isles wrapped up their three-game road trip with two straight wins and a record of 2-0-1.  

- With the win, the Isles restore their position to second in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points and a record of 25-10-3. It's the first time in the Post-Cup era that the Isles have reached 53 points by the end of December (26-11-2 at the end of 1983, for 54 points). 

- In the calendar year of 2019, the Isles had 222 goals for and the fewest goals against in the NHL with 191. 

- The Isles have had seven players suit up for every game of 2019: Lee, Nelson, Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey and Devon Toews.  

- Scott Mayfield is one game away from reaching the 200-game milestone. The 27-year-old defenseman has 52-career points (13G, 39A) through 199 games. This season through 37 games, Mayfield has 11 points and has already matched his career-high of four goals.  

- The Isles put up the second-fewest shots per game average across the NHL at 28.6.  


- The Devils are currently last in the Metropolitan Division and second-last in the Eastern Conference with a 14-19-6 record and 34 points. The Devils are 29th in goals per game (2.56) and 30th in goals against per game (3.44).

- With the New Year's Eve shootout win over Boston, New Jersey improved their record to 5-2-1 in their last eight games. 

- Coleman scored his 12th goal of the season and is second in the Devils leaderboard for scoring. Through 39 games this season, the center has 20 points.  

- Bratt scored his eighth goal of the season. The 21-year-old winger has five points through three of his last four games. Through 34 games this season, Bratt has 15 points.  

- Nikita Gusev had the primary helper on Coleman's goal and is tied on the Devils leaderboard in assists with 16. The Russian winger is riding a four-game point streak six points (2G, 4A) during that span.  

- Sami Vantanen also assisted on Coleman's strike. Vantanen is tied with Gusev for a team-high 16 assists. Through 35 games this season, the blueliner has 21 points (5G, 16A). Vantanen is riding a five-game point streak with seven assists during that span.  

- Nico Hischier assisted on Bratt's goal. The 20-year-old center is second in New Jersey's leaderboard in points with 23 (8G, 15A) through 34 games. Hischier has a three-game point streak with five points (2G, 3A) during that span.  

- Blackwood made his 27th start of the season and improved his record to 13-10-5. Blackwood has a goals against average and a save percentage of .907.  

- Kyle Palmieri was selected to represent New Jersey at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Palmieri leads the Devils in scoring (15) and points (27). Palmieri also has a team-high seven power play goals through his 39 appearances this season.  

- Hughes is ranked eighth among current rookies in the NHL in points with 16. Hughes is tied for fifth among rookies in scoring with six goals through his 36 games played this season.  

- New Jersey's power play has the second lowest conversion percentage in the NHL at 14.2%. The Devils penalty kill is 19th at 79.8%. 


Last season, the Isles swept the season series as they won both home games during regulation and both games in New Jersey in overtime/shootout. The Isles are 11-4-0 in their last 15 games against the Devils.

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