The importance of Friday night’s game against the New York Rangers cannot be downplayed. The Devils have suffered two bad loses, and have lost 4 of their last 6 games. Furthermore, they have dropped to sixth in the conference, and could be one point away from eighth if the Rangers win.
To make matters worse, the Devils have not been doing well in the injury department.
Brian Gionta injured himself during the second period of the Devils dismal loss to the Penguins on Tuesday. Tom Gulitti reported that this may have been an ankle or knee injury. He claims he’ll be ready to play by Friday, but the decision is not final.
Jamie Langenbrunner was out with the Flu on Tuesday, but practiced on Thursday and expects to be on the ice tomorrow.
Jay Pandolfo is still out, although his arrival is nearing. He was in practice, as reported by the Rich Chere of the Star Ledger, but he has yet to feel 100%. He says he does not want to play until he gets to that point, although if the team continues to struggle, he may make an appearance as soon as Saturday against the LA Kings.
Cam Janssen also is expected to join the Devils lineup, as insinuated by the New Jersey Devils web site, but Brent Sutter cautions that his position in the roster may not be available depending on the status of other key players.
As the schedule winds down, the importance of these games increases, especially in a conference as competitive as the East. Only five points separates second place from eighth. And as evident from the Devils drop within the past week, a playoff position can be lost very quickly.
For some reason the Devils still have yet to beat a team whose name begins with “New York.” The stretch continued Wednesday night as the Devils fell to the New York Islanders.
Ken Daneyko stated after the game that its just a fluke thing and there is “no rhyme or reason” behind the Devils failing to beat the two “New York” teams.
Islander netminder Rick DiPietro was on top of his game making 15 saves in the third period, and only letting up one goal during the 60 minutes of regulation.
Ex-Devil Bill Guerin scored first for the Islanders and got the insurance Empty Net goal to finish the game up at 3-1.
This game marks the 5th straight loss against the New York Islanders this season, and 9th straight loss against the Devils New York neighbors.
Against the Islanders this season, the Devils be been out-scored 15-7 and out-faceoffed 151-120. Interestingly, they were being out-shot until Wednesday nights 3rd period in which the Devils made 16 shots and the Islanders only had 5.
Last season the Devils record against the Islanders was 6 wins and 2 losses. In the 2005-06 season, the Devils did just the opposite with 2 wins and 6 losses. Thus so far in the post-lockout NHL, the Devils-Islanders record is 8-13, one of the worst for the Devils against any team.
I just wanted to post a general site announcement to let visitors of the njdevils.info network of sites that we’ll be away on vacation until Friday, January 11. Updates to the site, including box scores, multimedia, and box scores, as well as blog postings to At the Red Line and work on our new News Center, will resume when I return.
Thank you, and as always, Lets Go Devils!