The New York Islanders have a 12-day break tonight against the New Jersey Devils at UBS Arena. The Devils lead the Islanders 14-17-5 in the Mets Division, but the Islanders have eight games left.
Demon game also delayed
The Devils were supposed to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, but the game was postponed due to COVID protocols. If this game is also postponed, it will be another setback for the Islanders, who are trying to maintain the momentum of their last two wins.
“We’re getting ready for Thursday,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “I think the league has a good handle on that, so they’ll call, we’ll know, and we’ll go from there.”
although Seemingly confident in the league’s ability to make the right call, he and many others hope to continue playing at UBS Arena on Thursday night. “Ideally, we need to play. We’ve practiced enough. I think the guys are ready to go. They want to play, they’re a little tired of practice and we need to play some games,” Trotz said. .
The Islanders have made it to the third round of the playoffs the past two seasons, and they need to give their all in the upcoming games or they’ll miss the playoffs entirely. Their biggest difficulty is the COVID protocol and whether they’re allowed to play or have a full roster. Fortunately, Mathew Barzal recently returned to the lineup, as did Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri — three of the Islanders’ big names.
related: Islanders’ 3 wins in a row home win
How the islanders prepare to face the devil will be a testament to their development over the past few days. At least New Jersey also has a few days off, so both teams may feel a little rusty.
The Islanders are ready for this game. Josh Bailey points out They are fully prepared and want to focus on getting started quickly. If they can get on the field first and finish the first period with a lead, that should help them build momentum for the rest of the game. They had two home victories before halftime — a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 30 and a 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 1 — so They are under pressure to build a winning streak.
Islanders Without Barry Trodz Again
In this never-ending pandemic, another islander has been added to the COVID protocol. This time, it was Troz who had recently returned from a vacation for personal reasons. The team won on Dec. 1 without him, so there should be no problem that assistant coach Lane Lambert will be at the helm again. Like Trotz, Lambert has been with the Islanders organization and knows how to lead his team. It’s a testament to the coaching structure and how united the team is that even if players lose through injury or agreement, they can win without a head coach.
“Yeah, I mean we weren’t too worried going into the last game. We just focused on what we had to do,” Josh Bailey said. “Throughout the course of the season, we’ve come across a few different things, and that was another time, we found a way to win on the night.”
While the team is confident without a head coach, at least Brock Nelson has returned to the lineup to provide some offensive support.
Players to Watch
New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes
The Devils have several great players for the Islanders to keep an eye on. Jesper Bratt leads the team with 10 goals in 34 games. However, Jack Hughes, who was out due to injury, scored 9 goals in 19 games, tied for second place in the team. He’s looking to improve over an impressive sophomore season and show why he’s the No. 1 overall pick in 2019.
Hughes is no stranger to big goals. He scored the game-winning shot on Oct. 15 in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks with an astonishing and patient shot.expected Hughes try And accomplish something like that, if they can stop him up front, it will prove the Islanders defense.
In their most recent matchup, Hughes scored his first point against the Islanders, which won 4-2 on Dec. 11.
New York Islanders – Matthew Balzaar
Mathew Barzal is a player who has scored a few points against the Devils this season. In their first game in October, he was assisted by a Kieffer Bellow goal early in the first. Then in their most recent game last December, Barzal also had two assists. Both were crucial, as they tied the game for the Islanders on both occasions.
Most recently, Barzal came out of the COVID protocol to hit the scoresheet in consecutive games. In a game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 30, he scored 3 points and provided 2 assists. Then in the follow-up game against the Edmonton Oilers, he scored another point for himself on Noah Dobson’s overtime-winning assist.
It goes to show how important Barzal is to the Islanders and I’m sure he can score a few points for himself again in Thursday’s game. Especially since he has missed time due to COVID, there is no doubt that he is eager to make up for lost time and regain his dominance as a key player for the Islanders.
Expect a great game tonight as the Islanders finally return to play against their division rivals.
Three years ago, I started writing for my college hockey team at UMass Amherst, and started my own hockey blog, covering teams from the NHL to college and world youth teams. The blog is ranked 44th on Feedspot.com’s list of the 70 Best Hockey Blogs on the Internet. Since then, I’ve also had the opportunity to cover New York Islanders with IslesFix (formerly IslesBlog), and now write for hockey writers, as well as cover New York Islanders.