Martin Brodeur and Al Montoya face off tonight at the Rock in the second meeting between the two teams in one week.
Last Sunday, the Islanders fell 3-2 in a six-round shootout to the Devils at Nassau Coliseum.
The Devils enter tonight's game eight points behind the Rangers, who hold the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference and play San Jose tonight on the West Coast. The Islanders are right behind the Devils, 10 points behind the Rangers.
Who would've thought back in November this game could actually have playoff implications?
Coach Jack Capuano said before the game he doesn't feel short-changed that his team's turnaround hasn't received the same amount of praise as the Devils.
"I just know one thing. We've had more man-games lost than any team and our young kids are playing hard. You talk about the belief and the confidence they have in each other. If people don't want to give us credit that's fine, but at the same time I don't think you can take our team lightly."
As for the Islanders' recent success--they are tied with Boston for the most points (49) in heh East since December 16--Capuano said it's unfair to say the team is thriving because of a lack of pressure.
"Our guys look at the numbers and we're not too far back ourselves as far as the standings go. Everyone's fighting for jobs this time of the season. I kind of get a kick out of when people say we're playing loose. You can't play too loose when you're battling for jobs."