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Devils return home to host Islanders

by Mike G. Morreale

ISLANDERS (32-37-11) at DEVILS (34-29-17)


Last 10: New Jersey 4-2-4; New York 6-2-2

Season series: It's the fifth and final game of the season between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. Each team has won twice, though both of the Islanders' victories have come in shootouts. One of those was a 4-3 win on Oct. 4 in Newark, the Islanders' only previous visit to Prudential Center this season.

Big story: Each team is playing for pride and job security. The Devils were eliminated from contention in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings earned a point against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey, which has missed the playoffs the past two seasons, concludes the regular season on Sunday at home against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders, who snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday, have failed to qualify for the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons.

"There's going to be time to reflect on what went wrong at the end of the season," DeBoer told The (Bergen) Record. "I want to finish this the right way, send the right message to everybody that comes to watch us play and I think the guys are prepared to do that. We'll reflect on what went wrong over the summer. We'll all look in the mirror and I'll be the first guy in line to do that to see what I could have done better."

Team Scope:

Islanders: The injury-plagued Islanders dressed 11 rookies Thursday night in a 2-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Bell Centre. Two of them, Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson, scored in the second period to give goalie Evgeni Nabokov all the support he needed. Nabokov made 19 saves in earning his fourth shutout of the season. Josh Bailey assisted on Strome's power-play goal to establish a career high with 36 points (eight goals, 28 assists).

"I think the best way to impress a coaching staff and a general manager is to win games," Strome said. "I think if we play energetic and upbeat we're going to give ourselves a chance no matter who is playing."

Devils: Goalie Cory Schneider made his fifth consecutive start on Thursday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators, dropping New Jersey to 0-12 in the tiebreaker this season. The Devils extended their NHL-record shootout losing streak to 16 games, dating to March 15, 2013, in Philadelphia. The team has scored three shootout goals in 43 attempts in 2013-14. Patrik Elias returned to the lineup after missing two games to injury.

"I'm tired of losing, I'm just tired of losing," Schneider said after the shootout loss. "It's been that kind of year."

DeBoer didn't reveal whether Schneider or Martin Brodeur would get the nod against the Islanders. Brodeur hasn't played since being pulled in the second period of a 6-3 win over Florida on March 31 after allowing three goals on nine shots.

Brodeur was noncommittal about his future with the organization when asked if he felt he would return with the Devils in 2014-15.

"I don't expect [the Devils] to come running after me," Brodeur said. "We'll see. Again, that's a situation I have to be OK with regardless of it it's here or somewhere else. But I have to talk to a lot of people in the offseason and make my own decision. Regardless of if I stay or leave, the Devils are in unbelievable hands with Schneids."

Who's hot: Bailey has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the past seven games for the Islanders. … Schneider has allowed two or fewer goals in seven consecutive starts and is 3-1-3 with a 1.16 goals-against average and .952 save percentage over that stretch.

Injury report: New York is without forwards John Tavares (knee), Kyle Okposo (lower body) and defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Brian Strait (hand). Forwards Michael Grabner (upper body) and Clutterbuck (upper body) and defenseman Calvin de Haan (lower body) are out. Forward Johan Sundstrom remained behind in a Montreal hospital after being driven into the boards during the second period Thursday night. … The Devils are without Adam Henrique (groin), Jacob Josefson (left foot/ankle), Bryce Salvador (groin) and Ryane Clowe (head).

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