Even though they aren’t directly competing with one another, the stakes for Monday night’s Metropolitan Division meeting between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders are quite high.

The Devils are still chasing the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, while the Isles are in the thick of a three-team race for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers. 

It’s also a matchup of contrasting styles.

The Devils are a team built on skill and speed, while the Islanders — especially with Mat Barzal on the shelf — rely on structure, physicality, and defense to grind out results. 

Which style will come out on Monday night?

Devils vs. Islanders prediction

(7:30 p.m. ET., ESPN+)

As expected, the Devils are a popular favorite on the road in this matchup.

New Jersey has been the better of the two teams all season and sits 17 points ahead of the Isles in the standings. 

As wide as that gap is, things have tightened up between these two clubs since the All-Star break.

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils controls the puck
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils controls the puck
Getty Images

The Devils still have the better record in that span with a .667 points percentage compared the Isles’ .636, but the two clubs have comparable statistical portfolios. 

In fact, the Islanders (+8) have the better 5-on-5 goal differential compared to the Devils (+4) in that span and their expected goals percentage is better.

New Jersey has the best high-danger scoring chance rate in the entire league since the break, but the Islanders are 10th overall in that category in the same timeframe. 

The Devils have been terrific all season, but the Islanders are improving.

Things are pretty tight along the edges, too. New Jersey has the better special teams, but they’re not elite in either category.

Meanwhile, the Isles have a distinct advantage in goal, with Ilya Sorokin set to start after getting Saturday night off. 

Handicapping stylistic matchups in the regular season isn’t always that useful in the NHL, but this is a game where you have a pretty good idea of what the game plan will look like for both teams.

While the Islanders will do everything in their power to slow the game down, the Devils will try to get things off-script and turn it into a track meet. 

Alexander Romanov #28 of the New York Islanders
Alexander Romanov #28 of the New York Islanders
Getty Images

Betting on the NHL?

New Jersey has the ability to run any team in the NHL out of the building, but the Islanders are experts at keeping things tight against more talented teams.

The Isles’ ability to gum up the zone and their goaltending makes this an attractive game to back the 60-minute draw. 

Devils vs. Islanders pick

60-minute draw (+350, FanDuel)

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