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 Ponikarovsky – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias – Adam Henrique – David Clarkson
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Krystofer Barch – Jacob Josefson – Bobby Butler
Bryce Salvador – Henrik Tallinder
Andy Greene – Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky
Injured: Dainius Zubrus
Scratched: Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold, Stefan Matteau
Matt Moulson – John Tavares – Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner – Keith Aucoin – David Ullstrom
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Colin McDonald
Andrew MacDonald – Travis Hamonic
Brian Strait – Lubomir Visnovsky
Mark Streit – Joe Finley
Injured: Matt Carkner
Scratched: Eric Boulton, Marty Reasoner, Thomas Hickey