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New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils: Ye olde playoff implications

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Also: Two reactions to last night.

You can't dominate for 60 minutes, but you can have your moments.
You can't dominate for 60 minutes, but you can have your moments.
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the New Jersey Devils were in the playoffs was four seasons ago, when they went all the way to the finals but lost to the Kings, failing to add another Stanley Cup to legendary Blues Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur's resume.

The last time the Devils and Islanders were both in the playoffs at the same time, both exited at the hands of the Eastern Conference finalists in 2007, the year the Isles acquired Ryan Smyth (sniff) and the Devils won the division but In Lou We Trust famoulsy fired Claude Julien in the season's final week.

You have to go back a ways to find when both franchises made it through bubble battles to be scrappy playoff opponents -- not Colorado Rockies far, but far enough. So it's of interest that this season the patchwork Devils roster -- for whom such low preseason expectations were held -- finds itself right there in the playoff hunt, two points behind the Islanders and one point out of the wild card after 58 games played.

It's a fun time of year, and tonight's game, with the Devils awaiting the Islanders at the back-end of a traveling back-to-back, has fun implications to the tight Metro runner-up race.

Islanders (30-19-7) @ Devils (29-22-7, 5th/Metro)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+/+2
audio, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM
[insurance or geological feature of some sort] Center

Screw Lou:
All About the Jersey

Last night the Islanders lost to the Capitals in overtime, needing a late Frans Nielsen goal to force a three-point game after two quick Ovechkin goals put them behind at the beginning of the second period.

Reactions to that effort were interesting, almost philosophical about the only occasionally synchronous ebbs and flows of work and results in a low-event sport league of parity...

Nielsen:

"[nice to get a point but] we definitely didn't play our best game. When you don't play well you have to work even harder, but we didn't do that either. On bad nights like this we have to find a way to be tougher to play against, and the good thing about hockey is it's a new game tomorrow."

Travis Hamonic:

"It's a game where it's up and down and as much as you'd like to, you're not going to completely dominate a team all 60 minutes. But you have to handle it in waves and be able to come back and push yourself and I thought we did that honestly, overtime is what it is I guess."

Food for thought as we cheer each up and bemoan each down.

Jaroslav Halak is in goal. The lineup is otherwise the same as last night, with Brian Strait in for an injured Calvin de Haan.

The Devils are still without leading scorer Mike Cammalleri, but defenseman Jon Merrill is back in the lineup after missing 12 games.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal pick here. de Hon't choose de Haan.