Last night, the Devils routed the Rangers by a score of 4-1. Certainly a nice little break in-between playing the Isles three times, but they’ll be back at it tomorrow, this time in their own house.
The Islanders will no doubt find it slow-going to start, after having three whole days off since Sunday’s win. But there will be precious little time to dwell on it, since one player on the Devils has seemed to find his scoring touch: Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Russian sniper scored two points in the Rangers game (1 G, 1 A), snapping his slump at nine games. He’s also a noted Isle-killer, with 16 goals and 16 assists against New York in his career. Linemate and captain Zach Parise is just as dangerous, with 30 points (14 G, 16 A). Though the Isles seem to have the Devils’ number more often than not, it’ll be a busy night for whichever defensive pairing (I’m thinking A-Mac/Hamonic) sees them the most.
Not to be outdone, though, Kyle Okposo did score a goal against the Devils on Sunday afternoon, and it turned out to be the one that stood up after a great defensive showing by both teams and goalies. In fact, he scored his first NHL goal on Martin Brodeur and has 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in 19 games played against New Jersey. There’s no telling whether he’ll continue his success or not until the game is played, of course; however, if he can’t keep up the streak, you can look to Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson, who have four goals in four games and six points in six, respectively. Frans Nielsen, Casey Cizikas and PA Parenteau are also riding points streaks, something that certainly warms my heart, since it means there are players other than the top two of Moulson-Tavares who are producing. (Parenteau, in fact, has three more points than Moulson.)
Of course, all of this doesn’t mean much when you can’t put more goals in net, so the Islanders still have to work on their finish. That’s what Bailey has been excelling at since his transition to the wing; if he can do it, everyone else can.
We shall see.