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Islanders hope to build momentum against Devils

by Brian Compton

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders ended a five-game losing streak Thursday night when they rallied for a 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The Islanders (5-7-1) hope to build off that win Saturday evening, when they play host to the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. New Jersey, which also rallied for a 5-3 win on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, sit atop the Eastern Conference with 21 points (9-2-3).

Johan Hedberg gets the start in goal for New Jersey. Hedberg, who turns 40 in May, has allowed two goals in three appearances this season. He is 2-0-1 with a 0.65 goals-against average and .973 save percentage. Hedberg stopped all 22 shots he faced in the Devils’ 3-0 win against the Islanders on Feb. 3 at the Coliseum.

Devils defenseman Mark Fayne, who had an assist in just more than 18 minutes of ice time Friday night, will be a healthy scratch against the Islanders. He will be replaced in the lineup by Henrik Tallinder, who last played on Feb. 2 at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeni Nabokov, who is coming off a 36-save performance against the Rangers, will be between the pipes for New York. He is 5-5-1 with a 2.98 GAA and .900 save percentage.

The Islanders are 1-5-0 on home ice this season. Two of those five losses have come against the Devils.

"I think we have to come out with more urgency," said Islanders center John Tavares, who leads the club with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 13 games. "Just because you’re playing at home, it doesn’t mean things are going to be that different. Teams are going to come in and play hard. We’ve just got to stay confident and play our game. We’ve got to have better starts than we’ve had."

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:


Alexei PonikarovskyTravis ZajacIlya Kovalchuk

Patrik EliasAdam HenriqueDavid Clarkson

Ryan CarterStephen GiontaSteve Bernier

Krystofer BarchJacob JosefsonBobby Butler

Bryce SalvadorHenrik Tallinder

Andy GreeneAdam Larsson

Anton VolchenkovMarek Zidlicky

Johan Hedberg

Martin Brodeur

Injured: Dainius Zubrus

Scratched: Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold, Stefan Matteau


Matt MoulsonJohn TavaresBrad Boyes

Josh BaileyFrans NielsenKyle Okposo

Michael GrabnerKeith AucoinDavid Ullstrom

Matt MartinCasey CizikasColin McDonald

Andrew MacDonaldTravis Hamonic

Brian StraitLubomir Visnovsky

Mark StreitJoe Finley

Evgeni Nabokov

Rick DiPietro

Injured: Matt Carkner

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Marty Reasoner, Thomas Hickey


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