This will be the season opener for the Islanders who will look to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Devils will be playing their home opener after getting their season underway at Pittsburgh last night. According to current NHL betting odds the Devils are a -115 money line favorite and the total is 5.5.
The Final 2 Years on the Island
The Islanders entered the NHL in 1972 and having been playing in the same building since. The Nassau Coliseum will be the Islanders home for just the next 2 seasons. Starting in 2015-2016 the franchise will move to Brooklyn and play in the Barclay’s Center which is a multi-million dollar state of the art facility that opened last year.
Can the Isles Keep the Momentum Going?
In last year’s strike shortened season, the Islanders were able to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 campaign. Unfortunately like their previous 6 playoff appearances the Islanders were eliminated in the first round of the postseason, losing to Pittsburgh in 6 hard fought games. The franchise hasn’t advanced beyond the first round since the 1992-1993 campaign when they advanced to the conference finals before being eliminated by Montreal. This is a club that won’t be satisfied with just making the playoffs, but will strive to make a deep run in the postseason. They have plenty of talent and skill at the forward positions. If they can get any kind of consistent goaltending, and clean up the play in their own zone, then their goals will certainly be realistic.
Back to Brodeur
Marty Brodeur watched as a backup last night in a Devils season opener for the first time in 19 seasons. Brodeur missed some time last week after the passing of his father. As a result head coach Peter DeBoer decided to go with Cory Schneider in goal and insert Brodeur for the home opener. Considering the plan is to cut back on Brodeur’s work this season, and groom Schneider as the future franchise goalie, the move wasn’t as big a shock as many might think. It will be interesting to see how the Devils 4 forwards they signed this post offseason in free agency are able to produce. Someone has to pick up the slack after losing both Ilya Kovalchuk (KHL) and David Clarkson (FA-Toronto) who were 2 of the top 3 scorers a season ago.
With a game already under their belt, the emotion of playing in their home opener, and Brodeur back between the pipes for his season debut, I give the slightest of a lean to the New Jersey Devils for my Friday hockey picks.