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NHL Game Preview for Sunday March 4, 2012: New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders

Written by Matt Stevens   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 21:13

New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders OddsOnline Sportsbook Overview
Hockey fans in New Jersey have already forgotten about last year’s roller coaster season. The Devils were one of the worst teams in hockey up until December 2010 when Jacques Lemaire was hired as coach after John McLean was fired. For the rest of the season, the Devils were one of the best teams in hockey. This year, the New Jersey sports fans are keeping an eye on March Madness spreads, but they are also watching a Devils team that is chasing a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are trying to be that balance between scoring and defense that makes champions. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily for the Devils, it works more often than not.

The New York Islanders are one of those teams that people say has talent but then the team consistently underachieves. The price per head sportsbook experts took notice when the Islanders brought in former San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov to help out with a goaltending situation left in shambles by the oft-injured Rick DiPietro.

But Nabokov was ineffective and the Islanders are once again using the goalie carousel approach. There is no starting goaltender on the island, and DiPietro is injured once again. Meanwhile, the inability of the Islanders to score goals is also compounding the fact that the team is having a hard time playing defense.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur already owns most of the NHL’s major goaltending records and he still looks like he could play for another 10 years. The Devils still play the trap style of defense from time to time, but it has also found ways to break out of it when it needs to. Sportsbook reviews of the success of the Devils this year show that the Devils have a 19-10-1 road record and had a 6-3-1 record in the 10 games leading into this week. While the Devils would like to get more production from its top scorers, it is still a strong team that could do a lot of damage when it gets to the playoffs.

New York Islanders
Islanders fans were watching the NHL trade deadline to see if the Islanders would be buyers or sellers. The Islanders are eight points out of a playoff spot and it is not looking like New York is making a playoff run. The team needs a reliable goaltender and consistent scoring. Whether or not the Islanders make a move towards the top eight in the Eastern Conference, the fans on the island can probably expect more shake-ups with the team, more roster changes and possibly even a coaching change. The Islanders are still feeling around trying to figure out how to build a playoff contender.

The Bottom Line
The Islanders play its best hockey at home, but the Devils play its best hockey on the road. At any point in this season, the Devils’ best trumps the Islanders’ best regardless of where these two teams play.

BSN Sports Pick: New Jersey Devils

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