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New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils: Devils limp into the Coliseum

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The Isles need to take better advantage of a wounded team.

All the Isles' horses and all the Devils' men...
All the Isles' horses and all the Devils' men...
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a bounce-back win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the New York Islanders look to make it two in a row with another at the Coliseum, this time hosting an injury-ravaged New Jersey Devils squad that has lost three straight, and most of its top two lines.

They'll face a longtime fan in the opposition net.

Devils (11-15-5, t-5th/Metro) @ Islanders (20-10, 2nd/Metro)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+ | WRHU/WRCN
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The Injury Inside:
In Lou We Trust

Isles Lineup Notes
  • Jaroslav Halak starts again.
  • Casey Cizikas has been activated from IR and will center (and reunite) the fourth line with Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.
  • Michael Grabner sits with a minor lower body injury, which makes the fragile penalty kill all the more vulnerable.

Last meeting: You'll remember the Islanders hung on for the win at Nassau Coliseum with Jaroslav Halak helping kill penalties in the dying minutes in a lopsided third period. Let's not make it that close this time, okay?

Damien Brunner, who scored the first Devils goal in that one, is no more. Waived and pursuing work in the Swiss League.

The Devils were decimated by injuries for that game, and it's arguably worse today. More on that below.

The #$%& PK

Jack Capuano on the penalty kill [morning scrum audio]: "Our PK's only gonna get better."

At a league-worst 71.6%, I guess it has to. But it's giving up the third-most shots per 60 at 4-on-5 (61.2).

The Coliseum Crowd

It's been a proper farewell tour so far at the old barn, and the players have noticed:

"We feed off the crowd and they've been excellent," Thomas Hickey said. "It just makes a big difference playing in front of a full building. In the past, the fans that came were great and loud and we appreciate that, but the more the merrier, it helps us out a lot. And the record shows."

Devils Notes

In Lou We Trust has its usual thorough preview from the Devils' perspective.

The Devils have struggled and are an old team so you don't figure they'll get better as the season goes on. If they're thinking of joining the coach-firing brigade -- the Oilers "relieved" Dallas Eakins of his burden today -- then their elder statesman says that would be a mistake:

Still, with the losses continuing to mount and the Devils now five points out of a playoff spot (with three more games played than the team holding the second wild card spot in the East), it would seem Lamoriello would have to make some kind of change eventually to shake his team up.

If Lamoriello is thinking about getting rid of DeBoer, however, Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr says he should think again.

"That would be one of the biggest mistakes they could make," the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer told The Record. "To be honest with you, without our coaches and the system we play, it would be a lot worse."

Also from the Record, a look at the Devils' disastrous injury situation:

Cammalleri, who leads the team with 11 goals, has already missed eight games this season – six with a suspected concussion and two with a bruised sacrum. The Devils are also missing Patrik Elias (groin), Travis Zajac (lower body, mumps), Dainius Zubrus (left leg laceration), Adam Larsson (mumps), Bryce Salvador (lower body) and Ryane Clowe (suspected concussion).

Yikes.

Kinkaid's Moment

Cory Schneider was pulled Saturday after facing 33 shots in two periods, giving up goals on four of them.

The Devils don't sit Schneider very often, but they will do so tonight. Instead, they let local boy Keith Kinkaid start in what could be the Devils' final visit to Nassau Coliseum. Kincaid grew up in Farmingville played high school hockey at Sachem, and evidently grew up an Islanders fan.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here. Don't choose Grabner.