Islanders-Devils Preview

The New Jersey Devils haven’t been overly impressive on the

offensive end over the last two games – or for the entire season,

for that matter – but outstanding special teams play and

goaltending have lifted the club.

The New York Islanders’ inability to score is a major cause of

their freefall.

New Jersey goes for its sixth consecutive victory in this

matchup of Atlantic Division rivals Saturday when the Islanders try

to split this home-and-home series with their first road win since


Despite scoring just twice in regulation in their last two

games, the Devils (12-8-1) have won both thanks to stopping all 10

power plays and Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg combining to turn

aside 58 of 59 shots.

Hedberg made 23 saves, including one on a third-period penalty

shot by Michael Grabner, to earn his 19th career shutout in

Friday’s 1-0 victory over the Islanders (5-11-4).

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said coach Peter DeBoer,

whose Devils are among the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL with 55

goals. “Blocked shots, got pucks out when we needed to (and were)

solid through the neutral zone.”

The Devils fought off all four of New York’s power-play

opportunities Friday and own the league’s top penalty kill at 94.0

percent. They have not allowed a power-play goal in 36 chances at

home this season.

With the quick turnaround, Brodeur, who stopped 35 of 36 shots

in Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout victory over Columbus, could make a

sixth straight home start.

The four-time Vezina Trophy winner is 4-0-0 with a 1.94

goals-against average in four starts versus the Islanders since a

5-1 loss Dec. 23 that prevented New Jersey from winning its seventh

in a row at home in this matchup.

The Devils posted one-goal wins in the last two meetings between

these clubs in New Jersey in 2010-11 and have lost just once in New

York’s last nine visits.

Whoever DeBoer gives the nod to Saturday will face an Islanders

team that has been shut out three times in four games and is last

in the NHL with 38 goals.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Grabner said following the team’s

14th loss in 16 games. “… It seems we’re getting a little tight

and just try too hard to get it in.”

New York opens a four-game trip with just 11 goals in seven road

games. It is 0-8-2 away from Nassau Coliseum since beating Tampa

Bay 5-2 on March 22.

The Islanders’ merry-go-round at goaltender may have stopped for

the time being after Al Montoya’s 22-save effort Friday. It was his

first start since Nov. 10 due to injury.

Montoya went 0-0-2 with a 2.34 GAA against New Jersey last


Devils captain Zach Parise has not scored in the last five games

at the Prudential Center, but he has six goals and nine assists in

his last eight at home against the Islanders.

Parise missed New York’s three visits last season due to a knee


New Jersey rookie defenseman Adam Larsson has an assist in each

of the last four games.