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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, October 4th (All times Eastern)

New York Islanders (0-0-0) at New Jersey Devils (0-1-0), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders are out to prove themselves playoff worthy once again in 2013-14, and the club hopes to get its new season off to a strong start when it visits the rival New Jersey Devils in Friday's Metropolitan Division clash at Prudential Center.

Thanks in large part to the contributions of the ever-improving John Tavares, the Islanders ended a five-season playoff drought last spring. Although the Islanders bowed out to the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Penguins in six games, extending the franchise's streak of losing playoff series to seven, there seems to be good things on the horizon.

After an 81-point season in 2011-12, Tavares continued to make strides in 2013 and the centerman wound up as one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy in the lockout-shortened campaign. The 22-year-old Tavares recorded a career-best 31 goals in 2011-12, but he was even more dangerous last season when he tallied 28 times in just 48 contests. The first overall pick of the 2009 draft also has a knack for making those around him better and nobody knows that more than left winger Matt Moulson, who had 30 or more goals in his first three years playing to the left of Tavares and had 44 points (15G, 29A) in 47 games last season.

Tavares has an added responsibility this season, as he takes over the captain role from defenseman Mark Streit, who left over the offseason to sign with Philadelphia.

The Isles opted not to re-sign right winger Brad Boyes after he notched 10 goals and 25 assists while primarily playing on the top line in 2013. New York hopes Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Isles this summer, can be even more productive playing a secondary scoring role for New York.

New York head coach Jack Capuano will not have physical forward Cal Clutterbuck at his disposal in the opener, as the former Minnesota Wild pest will miss at least the first month of the season after suffering a laceration to his leg in the preseason. Clutterbuck was acquired for forward prospect Nino Niederreiter in a summer trade with Minnesota, a move designed to make the Isles a tougher team to play against.

To the surprise of very few people, the Islanders also used a compliance buyout this offseason to wipe out Rick DiPietro's salary-cap hit. DiPietro was a former No. 1 overall pick and signed an infamous 15-year, $67.5 million contract with New York prior to the 2006-07 season. Of course, it was all downhill after that as injuries and poor play derailed DiPietro's career and the Isles were left with an albatross of a contract around their necks.

With the DiPietro fiasco in the past, the Isles head into 2013-14 with steady veteran Evgeni Nabokov installed as the club's No. 1 netminder. Nabokov, 38, had a terrific season with New York in 2013, going 23-11-7 with a 2.50 goals against average, .910 save percentage and three shutouts and is ready to in the season opener.

The Devils, meanwhile, will try to rebound from Thursday's season-opening loss in Pittsburgh. New Jersey did little to prove it could get along offensively without Ilya Kovalchuk, as the club was blanked in the 3-0 setback to the Pens.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 27 shots sent his way by the Devils, who lost their most dangerous offensive weapon when Kovalchuk announced his retirement from the NHL this past summer.

Cory Schneider, who was acquired in a deal with Vancouver at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, made his Devils debut between the pipes and surrendered three goals on 21 shots.

"They were the better team in the first period and that was the game," said New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer. "If this was later in the season I think we would have stood a chance of coming back, but we just didn't have anything going tonight."

With Schneider getting the call on Thursday, Martin Brodeur had his NHL record streak of starting 18 straight season openers in net broken, but the future Hall of Fame netminder will make his first start of the campaign on Friday.

After Thursday's home opener, New Jersey will head out on a five-game road trip, beginning with Monday's test in Edmonton.

The Islanders won three of five meetings against the Devils last season and have taken two straight at the Prudential Center. The clubs have split the last 10 meetings overall.

10/04 10:49:46 ET

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Schedule

Wednesday, April 23Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh3Final(OT) | Box
Columbus «4Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Series tied, 2-2.
Anaheim23rd Prd 9:11 | Box
Dallas4@theRink | TV: CNBC, TSN, RDS2, FSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Anaheim leads series, 2-1.
St. Louis02nd Prd | Box
Chicago0@theRink | TV: NBCSN, CBC, FSN-MW, CSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. St. Louis leads series, 2-1.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
9th
PIT 2
CIN 5
 
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
9th
WAS 4
ANA 4
 
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
 
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
 
9th
TAM 4
MIN 4
 
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
 
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
 
8th
MIL 5
SDP 2
 
1st
LOS 0
PHI 0
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
4th
SAN 86
DAL 107
 
2nd
HOU 35
POR 30
 
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
3rd
DAL 4
ANA 2
 
1st Intermission
CHI 0
STL 0
 
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1