Six games in, the New York Islanders season isn’t in dire straits, but the team is very aware that they need to right the ship sooner rather than later.
The Islanders will look to curb a two-game skid tonight when they face the Washington Capitals for the second game a two-game stop in Washington D.C. The Isles dropped a heartbreaker on Tuesday, giving up a late goal and falling 3-2.
A firey Barry Trotz told reporters after the loss that his squad wasn’t in the playoff mindset that they needed to be and that changes would be coming to the Islanders lineup. Trotz wasn’t backing away from that thought today after the morning skate and indicated one or two changes were on the horizon.
“You are limited a little bit with the roster, but yeah we’ll make some changes. You’ll see,” Trotz said about the Islanders lineup.
What those changes will be is being kept close to the vest by Trotz.
“There will be a change or two.”
Barry Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/T15Ljv4N34
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 28, 2021
The Islanders offense has struggled to start the season. While they scored four goals twice through the first six games, they’ve been shut out twice and only found the back of the net twice in the first two games of their road trip.
In fact, Tuesday was the first time the Islanders managed to register at least a goal in a loss this season.
“I think we need to play our game and I don’t think we’ve done,” Anders Lee said. “It’s been six games and a couple of games have gotten away from us. At this point of the season we just have to get to who we are. Find ourselves a little bit and right the ship. I think there’s a time to overlook things, there’s a time to forget about things and I think this is a combination where we take this to heart and we improve on it right away.”
Since the Barry Trotz era began on Long Island in 2018 it’s been very rare that the Islanders string together too many efforts where they don’t play their game. Both losses to the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils, the Islanders had gotten away from their identity.
Tuesday’s loss to Washington was another one where mistakes ended up costing them in the end. While Trotz was critical of how things went two nights ago, he wasn’t pushing the panic button.
“It always seems very urgent early in a year, even in an 82 game schedule,” Trotz said. “You don’t want to fall back too far. In a shorter schedule, there is some urgency. The good thing about this, and you can’t lose sight of this. is that you’re playing everybody in your division. You can control a little bit more of the standings.”
Vitek Vanecek will be back in the net for Washington after making 32 saves on Tuesday. Nicklas Backstrom will be good to go for tonight’s game and Tom Wilson will be a game-time decision for Washington.
Lars Eller is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Kieffer Bellows — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Leo Komarov — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Ross Johnston
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Washington Capitals Lineup (Projected)
Jakub Vrana — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — T.J. Oshie — Richard Panik
Carl Hagelin — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Daniel Carr — Michael Sgarbossa — Daniel Sprong
Brenden Dillon — John Carlson
Zdeno Chara — Justin Schultz
Jonas Siegenthaler — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Justin Schultz enters tonight’s game with two consecutive mulit-point games, which marks the first time he’s done so since November 2017 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. … At 4-0-3 in their first seven games of the season, it is only the second time in franchise history that they have recorded at least a point in their opening seven games. … Vitek Vanecek is one of two rookie goaltenders in franchise history to remain unbeaten in regulation in his first five career games. … The Islanders have allowed 11 goals this season which is the fewest they’ve surrendered through the first six games since the 1976-77 season. … Anders Lee will appear in his 500th career NHL game tonight and Josh Bailey will play in his 872nd NHL game. Both hit the milestone while having only suited up for the Islanders. … The Islanders are 0-2-0 in the second game playing against the same team this season.
How to Watch
Today’s game will air on MSG+2 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 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.