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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 16th (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (9-2-3) at New York Islanders (5-7-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders are hoping that their most recent victory can serve as a turning point for the season. Picking up a home win over the rival New Jersey Devils would be another positive step, a feat the Isles look to accomplish on Saturday evening.
The Islanders snapped a five-game slide on Thursday with a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers. The game didn't get off to a great start for the Isles, who fell behind 2-0 before scoring three goals in the second period. Colin McDonald got the rally started 29 seconds into the frame and John Tavares and Brad Boyes later scored 49 seconds apart.
Though the Rangers did net a game-tying goal in the period, Evgeni Nabokov capped his 36-save effort by making two stops in the shootout, while Frans Nielsen and Tavares, who has a goal in four straight, capitalized on their breakaway chances.
The win also snapped the Islanders' eight-game slide at Madison Square Garden.
"I really hope so," said Nielsen on if the victory could be the start of something big for the Islanders. "I liked the way we came out in the second period and competed hard and forechecked hard, did all the little things. Hopefully we learned a lot from this win and what it takes to win."
The Isles will try to do the little things again on Saturday and win for the first time in five home games this month. This marks the fourth meeting this season with the Devils, who are 2-0-1 in the season series while picking up a pair of wins on Long Island.
That includes a 3-0 victory in the most recent meeting on Feb. 3 in Uniondale, where New Jersey's Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.
Nabokov made 24 saves for the Islanders, who have lost three straight and seven of their past 10 at home versus the Devils.
New Jersey has won 10 of the last 13 encounters overall.
Hedberg may get the call again for this game after Martin Brodeur helped the Devils rally for a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.
Brodeur yielded three goals on 11 shots in the first period, but stopped 17 over the final two frames to lead New Jersey to its sixth victory in seven games.
"We all know we didn't play well (in the first period). They took advantage of some of our breakdowns," Brodeur said.
David Clarkson had the game-winning goal, his team-leading 10th tally of the season, while Patrik Elias added a goal and two assists. Travis Zajac snapped a streak of 11 straight games without a goal by scoring 40 seconds into the game and Ilya Kovalchuk finished with three assists to give him 799 career points.
New Jersey, which rebounded from its first home regulation loss of the season, will play three of its next four on the road and is 3-1-2 as the guest this season.
02/16 10:29:43 ET