The New York Islanders are getting used to seeing the same teams over and over again, and tonight will be no different. The Islanders host the New Jersey Devils for the first of three consecutive games against their divisional foe tonight on Long Island before playing two in New Jersey.
The Islanders have gone 2-1-0 against New Jersey in their last three games, which includes a 2-1 win in Newark on March 2.
The two teams are in very different positions at the moment. The Islanders are in first place in the East Division, sitting two points ahead of the Washington Capitals, and New Jersey is seventh in the division and 11 points out of a playoff spot.
Tonight will mark the start of the second set of three games in four nights against the same team in the last two weeks. The New York Islanders hosted Buffalo three times in four nights last week beginning last Thursday.
“One game at a time,” Nick Leddy responded when asked about playing another set of three straight games against an opponent. “I think we just handle shift by shift, period by period. Worry about your next shift. That’s all you can really do.”
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was guarded about his lineup decisions. Trotz would only say that everyone is available, but he did not indicate who would be in or which goaltender would get the start.
Semyon Varlamov started in goal on Tuesday against Boston and it is likely that Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin will split the weekend slate of games.
📽️ Trotz Pregame Availability 📽️ pic.twitter.com/VkbhU6YCux
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 11, 2021
“I think my comfort level of putting either (goaltender) in is pretty good,” Trotz said. “Varly is still to me our number one goaltender. I think Ilya has made lots of strides, but he’s getting closer. My comfort level with him is good and I think as we get a bigger body of work you’ll see me trending more towards the (Thomas) Greiss, (Robin) Lehner situation.”
Tonight will mark the first time fans will be in attendance for an Islanders game in over a year. The Islanders invited 1,000 frontline workers from Northwell Health to attend the game.
The team welcomes back season ticket holders next Thursday when they face the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It’s super special that they’re the first ones coming to our game,” Mathew Barzal said. They’re so deserving the last year. They’ve just been grinding this pandemic and making sure everyone is safe. It’s exciting for us. We’re pretty excited to have them be the first ones tonight.”
New York Islander Lineup (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Michael Dal Colle — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
New Jersey Devils Lineup (Projected)
Pavel Zacha — Jack Hughes — Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood — Mikhail Maltsev — Jesper Bratt
Yegor Sharangovich — Travis Zajac — Janne Kuokkanen
Andreas Johnsson — Michael McLeod — Nathan Bastian
Ty Smith — Damon Severson
Dmitry Kulikov — P.K. Subban
Ryan Murray — Sami Vatanen
The Islanders have won six straight games, which is the longest active winning streak in the NHL. … Brock Nelson enters tonight’s game with a season-high four-game point streak. Through that span, Nelson has recorded three goals and four assists. … Head Coach Barry Trotz looks to become the third coach in Islanders history to win 100 games tonight. General Manager Lou Lamoriello looks to become the fourth general manager in Islanders history to win 100 games. … Ty Smith leads New Jersey in points against New York with three (three assists). … Pavel Zacha leads New Jersey in points with 16 (six goals, 10 assists) through 22 games this season. … New Jersey averages the fifth-fewest goals per game with an average of 2.50.
How to watch
Tonight’s game will air on MSG+ and stream on MSG Go or on NHL.TV outside of the New York market. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.