For the second night in a row the Islanders will be waiting until after their game is over to know if their playoff hopes are still alive.
But for the results of Toronto’s game against Pittsburgh to even matter, the Islanders will have to take care of business first against the New Jersey Devils. The penultimate game of the regular season takes place in New Jersey on Saturday night as the Islanders go for their fifth consecutive win.
It is the final clash between the two metropolitan teams as the Islanders desperately need another win. The Islanders have beaten the Devils twice this season – both wins have come at Barclays Center – but dropped their last meeting at Prudential Center 3-2. The Islanders are 7-1-1 in their last nine games in Newark.
The Islanders will turn once again to Jaroslav Halak to start in net on Saturday, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday. Halak has won all five starts since being called up from AHL Bridgeport and has a 2.83 goals against average.
Nikolay Kulemin returns to the Islanders lineup for the first time after missing the last seven games with an injury. Kulemin will be welcomed sight for an Islanders team that has a number of key players banged up.
The Islanders need to win out their last two games, and have Toronto lose their final two contests, for New York to make the playoffs. Both also have to watch out for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who remains in the playoff hunt as well.
Coincidentally, it’s been 10 years since Wade Dubielweicz poke check save against the Devils in the shootout to sneak the Islanders into the playoffs in 2007. The Islanders kept the Leafs out of the postseason with the win 10 years ago.