New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils: Rick DiPietro Looks To Rebound

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New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils: Rick DiPietro Looks To Rebound
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

With only a few games remaining on the schedule, the New York Islanders will try to finish the season on a high.

New York has lost two straight, falling to the Atlanta Thrashers and Philadelphia Flyers in unimpressive fashion.

Defensemen Mark Katic and Dylan Reese have been recalled from Bridgeport (AHL), likely for the remainder of the season. Both will be in the lineup tonight, as the Islanders take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. 

Though it had been speculated that Zach Parise would return tonight, the Devils announced that he won't be playing until Saturday night, when New Jersey faces the Montreal Canadiens.

Parise's absence won't make this game any easier for the Isles, who have their own injury woes to worry about.

New Jersey also happens to be the hottest team in the National Hockey League, even without No. 9 in the lineup.

You know what you're getting into when you play the Devils. They're extremely well coached by Jacques Lemaire, they play a tight defensive game and they always get sound goaltending from Martin Brodeur.

They won't make the playoffs this season, but they are certainly playing at a high level these days.

Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

X- Factor

If the Islanders are to be victorious, they cannot turn the puck over on a regular basis, an issue that played a major role in the team's last two losses. 

Additionally, it goes without saying that Rick DiPietro must not have a repeat performance of Saturday's game. The Devils will take goals any way they can get them and, if DiPietro plays poorly again, New Jersey will get them.

Players to Watch

Kyle Okposo

The Devils are a strong defensive team, so the Isles will need their strongest forwards to come through. Okposo is tough to knock off the puck, which makes the opposition's job very tough. If the Islanders win tonight, Kyle will be a reason why.

Matt Moulson

You're not going to score many pretty goals against the Devils, and there aren't many moves that fool Martin Brodeur. You have go to the dirty areas to beat this team on the scoreboard. There are 30 reasons why Moulson specializes in doing just that. Look for him to be involved offensively in this matchup.

Who will win tonight?

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Rick DiPietro

Will we see the goaltender who stymied the Florida Panthers in a shootout and helped key an Isles victory, or the one who gave up four goals on just 22 Philadelphia Flyer shots? It's anyone's guess at this point.

Islander Country will be watching, Rick.

Follow Daniel Friedman: @dfriedman_isles

Comments are welcome.

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