Islanders (5-4-2) at New Jersey (6-4-1)
(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: MSG | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) After posting a 4-1-2 record in their opening homestand, the Islanders look to continue their winning ways on the road as they travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey to take on the Devils tonight at the Continental Airlines Arena.
On Halloween, Tuesday, the Islanders knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 behind a three-point night from Mike Sillinger, who has accumulated eight points in his seven games at home, including five goals. All three members of the Jason Blake-Alexei Yashin-Viktor Kozlov line scored goals in the game as the Islanders improved to 5-4-2 on the season. Blake's goal was his 100th of his career.
The Islanders power play is on the rise after going 3-for-8 on the man-advantage Tuesday. They have now scored at least two power play goals in five of their first ten games, including three in one game, twice. The Islanders conversion rate of 21.3% places them fifth among NHL teams.
Trent Hunter put the Islanders up by one with a tricky toe-drag move past Colin White and then a wrister by Martin Brodeur for his second goal of the season at 8:00 of the first period. Mike York received the lone assist by intercepting the puck in the offensive zone and dishing it across to Hunter.
Ted Nolan attributes the effectiveness of the power play to a few subtle changes he's made. Sillinger has been put on the first power play unit down low with Yashin and Blake while Kozlov has been placed on the second unit. Miroslav Satan moved from the point to down low on the second unit.
The Devils start the new month riding high after completing October with back-to-back shutout wins over Florida and Columbus. Martin Brodeur has started 11 of his team's 12 games and has a record of 6-4-0. Up front, forwards Brian Gionta, Patrik Elias and Scott Gomez are leading the team offensively. Gomez is nursing a groin injury and is questionable for tonight's game. North Dakota alumni Zach Parise and Travis Zajac have also contributed on the score sheet in their second and first years, respectively.
The Islanders power play might be surging, but the Devils have been shorthanded a league low 38 times this year.
Last year the Islanders got the most of their Atlantic Division rival, posting a record of 6-1-1 against New Jersey. The Islanders were 3-0-1 against the Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena last season.
Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130 while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen tonight on MSG Network.
Check your local listings to locate MSG in your area.
GO INSIDE THE GAME TONIGHT - Islanders on MSG Network Includes Bonus Inside Access
STANDINGS: Islanders - 12 points, 3rd place (tied), Atlantic Division. New Jersey - 13 points, 2nd place, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Islanders Jason Blake, 6 goals; Alexei Yashin, 8 assists and 13 points; Brendan Witt, 30 PIM. New Jersey Brian Gionta, 7 goals and 13 points; Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski, 8 assists; Cam Janssen, 31 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 21.3 percent. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent. New Jersey - Power play: 14.5 percent. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent.
GOALTENDERS: Islanders Rick DiPietro (3-4-0, 2.42 GAA, .897 SV%); Mike Dunham (2-0-2, 2.20, .939). New Jersey Martin Brodeur (6-4-0, 2.70, .909); Scott Clemmensen (0-0-1, 3.33, .833).
2005-06 SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 6-1-1.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: New Jersey 4-0-1 at home; Islanders 1-3-0 on the road.
SILLINGER THE FACEOFF SPECIALIST
Mike Sillinger has been a faceoff specialist for his entire NHL career and now currently leads the league with a 60.7 faceoff wining percentage. The 16-year veteran has ranked in the top-15 among NHL faceoff leaders in each of the past five seasons. Sillinger has also played for an NHL record twelve franchises.
BLAKE NETS 100TH CAREER GOAL
Jason Blake scored his 100th career NHL goal on Oct. 31 vs. Chicago. In his eight-year career, Blake has now scored 100 goals with 126 assists for 226 points. As an Islander he has scored 93 goals with 105 assists for 198 points. Blake was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on January 3, 2001 for a fifth round draft selection.
AT THE COLISEUM
The Islanders wrapped up their 20-day, seven-game homestand with a 4-1-2 record. It was the longest period the Islanders remain home this season. The team has another seven-game homestand in February/March, but for a shorter period of time. With two additional home games sandwiched in between tonight's game against New Jersey and next week's game at Philadelphia, the Islanders do not fly again until mid-November when they start a seven-day trip to Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida and Toronto.
FINALLY BACK ON THE ROAD
The Islanders are finally back on the road for the first time in 21 days for a tilt versus New Jersey. The team's first road trip of the season was a four-game, ten-day road trip at the beginning of the season, which was one of the longest the Islanders will face this season. The team went 1-3-0 on the trip. The Islanders have two other significant road trips this season; a seven-day in November and a nine-day trip in March.
1 Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro
3 Tom Poti
6 Sean Hill
8 Bruno Gervais
24 Radek Martinek
32 Brendan Witt
77 Alexei Zhitnik
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
16 Mike York
17 Shawn Bates
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
30 Martin Brodeur
40 Scott Clemmensen
5 Colin White
6 Jim Fahey
7 Paul Martin
8 Alex Brooks
21 Brad Lukowich
28 Brian Rafalski
29 Johnny Oduya
9 Zach Parise
10 Erik Rasmussen
11 John Madden
14 Brian Gionta
15 Jamie Langenbrunner
17 Michael Rupp
18 Sergei Brylin
19 Travis Zajac
20 Jay Pandolfo
22 Dan LaCouture
23 Scott Gomez
25 Cam Janssen
26 Patrik Elias