The NHL is set up with another great Saturday of action on March 13. Twelve games are up on the board throughout Saturday. One of these games will be between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. These two teams are sitting in opposite sides of the division, but I expect a good game in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
New York has started this season with a record of 17-6-4, which has them in the top spot of the East Division. The Islanders have been hot as of late, winning seven in a row and nine of their last ten. New York will look to keep it going in this one against New Jersey. I expect the Islanders to try and continue their hot starts in this one.
The Devils have put up a record of 8-12-3 throughout this season, which has them sitting in seventh place of the East Division. New Jersey has lost back to back games and ten of their last twelve. The Devils have struggled after a strong start to the season. New Jersey will look to get back on track with an important win against the Islanders.
These two teams are both sitting on opposite sides of the division so far this season. I expect a good game between these two teams on Saturday night though. The Islanders are coming into this one on a very strong streak, while New Jersey has not gotten anything going. If the Devils can come out much quicker in this one, it should help them finally grab a win.
The Islanders and the Devils have met up four times throughout this season. New York hosted the first game on January 21. Nathan Bastian scored for New Jersey, but it was not enough. Jordan Eberle scored twice on the night, while Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists. Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 of 31 shots as the Islanders earned a 4-1 win.
New Jersey hosted the second game of the season series on January 24. Ilya Sorokin stopped 22 of 24 shots, but it was not enough for the Islanders. Ty Smith had two assists, while Jack Hughes and Pavel Zacha each scored a goal. Scott Wedgewood finished with a 28 shot shutout on the night to help lead the Devils to a 2-0 lead on the night.
The third game of the season series stayed in New Jersey on March 2. Miles Wood scored for the Devils, but New Jersey could not win this one at home. Anders Lee and Oliver Wahlstrom each scored a goal for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov turned away 28 of the 29 shots he faced. New York finished this one off with a 2-1 win on the night.
New York hosted the fourth game of the season series on March 11. Jack Hughes, Janne Kuokkanen and Mikhail Maltsev each had a goal in the third, but it was not enough for the Devils. Ryan Pulock had two assists on the night. Five different players scored for the Islanders to help earn the win. New York finished with a 5-3 win on the night.
The Islanders have been solid on both sides of special teams throughout this season. New York has capitalized on 16 of their 73 power play chances, which is a 21.9 percent success rate. The Islanders have also killed off 52 of the 63 penalties against them, which is an 82.5 percent kill rate. New York will look to keep up their special teams success in this one.
New Jersey’s special teams have struggled to get going throughout this season. The Devils have scored 8 power play goals on their 66 attempts, which is a 12.1 percent power play. New Jersey has given up 23 goals on their opponents 70 power play opportunities, which is a 67.1 percent penalty kill. The Devils will need to get something going on special teams if they want a chance in this one.
New York has the clear edge on special teams entering this matchup. The Islanders have the much better power play and penalty kill on the season. New York will look to use that to their advantage on Saturday night. The Devils have been in the bottom of the league on both sides of special teams, but if they can get it going in this one, it could lead to a win.
I expect Semyon Varlamov to get the start in the crease for New York in this one. Varlamov has earned a record of 12-4-3 throughout his 19 starts this season. He has put up a save percentage of .929 and a 2.03 GAA in those games played. Varlamov’s last start was against Boston Bruins, where he stopped 32 of 33 shots in route to the win.
Mackenzie Blackwood will likely get the nod between the pipes for the Devils on Saturday night. Blackwood has started in 13 games so far this season, earning a record of 5-7-1. He has posted a .900 save percentage and a GAA of 3.13. Blackwood finished with 28 saves on 33 shots in his last start against the Islanders.
These two goalies have had solid starts to this season. Varlamov has been the better goalie overall, but given New Jersey’s success this season, Blackwood has been a bright spot. The Devils will need Blackwood to bounce back in this one after a rough start against New York on Thursday night. I expect both goalies to try and make some big saves early to give their team the edge.
The Islanders have been the better team this season and have gone 3-1 against New Jersey so far this season. The Devils will look to finally bounce back with a win in this one on Saturday night. New Jersey needs Blackwood and their special teams to step up, which I think they can do. I think that the Devils could come out stronger in this one though to earn the win.
BetOnline has New York listed as a -158 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Islanders will win this game around 61.2 percent of the time. I think that this line is fair, but I believe that the Devils have a chance back at home. As big home underdogs in this one, I think that the value on New Jersey makes them a great pick.