The New York Islanders (22-17-3) are back in action as they host the Minnesota Wild (22-14-4) Thursday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:30 PM ET at UBS Arena.
The Islanders, who have lost three straight, will be donning the Fisherman Reverse Retros Thursday night. They are 2-1-0 in those jerseys, outscoring their opponents 10-5.
The Islanders have three players who reign from Minnesota in Zach Parise, Brock Nelson, and captain Anders Lee. Hudson Fasching grew up a Wild fan but is from Wisconsin.
Parise and Cal Clutterbuck are the only two Islanders to have ever played for the Minnesota Wild.
“It’s fun,” Nelson said about facing his hometown team. “I mean, I’ll forever remember going back there for the first one and obviously a big crowd even still, to this day, when we get to go back there and play. “It’s fun. A lot of family are able to see you play that maybe don’t throughout the season.”
For Fasching, facing his childhood team is always special.
“It was pretty special. I remember I was supposed to play against them in my first year I was in Buffalo, and I got hurt before,” Fasching said. “And so I’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while. The first time was actually during COVID fans there, really, but I was fortunate enough I got to play in Minnesota last year. So it was special. I have a bunch of family and friends that are to be able to watch.”
Fasching grew up watching Parise and now has the privilege of calling him a teammate.
“Yeah, I remember when he signed there, and it was such a big deal that we finally got a couple of big signings with him and Ryan Suter. There was a lot of buzz around Minnesota for quite a while with them, and they obviously had some good teams there for sure,” Fasching said.
“On the flip side of that, watching him play and now being able to play with him, it’s been really fun. He’s such a good player. And yeah, we’ve had a lot of fun so far.”
Morning Skate Updates
The Islanders did hold an optional skate with just nine skaters and two goalies: Josh Bailey, Kyle Palmieri, Simon Holmstrom, Ross Johnston, Brock Nelson, Noah Dobson, Adam Pelech, Sebastian Aho, and Parker Wotherspoon.
Yep, you read that right. For the first time since his injury on Dec. 6, Adam Pelech (IR) took part in a team skate.
Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov were on the ice, with Sorokin heading off pretty early as he will make his 30th start of the season.
He is 14-13-2, with a 2.30 GAA, a .925 SV%, with three shutouts.
Kyle Palmieri (IR) and Ross Johnston were on the ice before the skate and stayed on after, as they will serve as extras against the Wild.
Palmieri will miss his 12th straight game and 23 of the last 24 with an upper-body injury.
Defenseman Sebastian Aho is expected to play in career game no. 100.
On the Wild side, Filip Gustavsson will make his 16th start of the season, per Michael Russo. He is 9-6-1, with a 2.25 GAA, a .924 SV%, and one shutout. The Islanders put up a five-spot on him last season when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators in a 5-3 win.
Lambert Provides Injury Updates
As mentioned, Adam Pelech returned to the ice with his teammates for the first time since the injury. There’s no timetable for his return.
“Well, he’s getting closer,” Lambert said. “Whatever that closer might be, now that he’s back on the ice. So it’s a big step for us.”
The Islanders could use their elite defenseman back, as he does much more than play a shutdown game.
“He eats up a lot of minutes. He plays in important situations, and he plays against other teams’ top players. We’ve missed a lot, but to your point, I think our guys have done a great job,” Lambert said.
For Kyle Palmieri, it’s up to him when he can return, as physically, he is ready.
“He’s doing everything, and he just needs to feel confident and comfortable that he’s ready to play, and that’s getting closer.”
New York Islanders Lines (PROJECTED)
Anders Lee-Mathew Barzal-Simon Holmstrom
Anthony Beauvillier-Brock Nelson-Josh Bailey
Zach Parise-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Parker Wotherspoon-Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov-Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho-Scott Mayfield
Minnesota Wild Lines (PROJECTED)
Fleury between the pipes
— Dane Mizutani (@DaneMizutani) January 10, 2023
Tonight, the Islanders host the Minnesota Wild in the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The Islanders will look to earn their first win against Minnesota since Dec. 29, 2019 tonight. It has been nearly a year since these teams last met on Jan. 30, 2022.
Entering tonight’s game, the Islanders have collected a point in their last four consecutive matchups at UBS Arena and will play the second game of their season-long five-game home stand. The Islanders will also look to improve upon their 4-6-2 record against Central Division opponents tonight after collecting a point in the shootout against Dallas on Tuesday.
DraftKings Betting Corner
Do you think the New York Islanders will beat the Minnesota Wild? You can get the Islanders at -105 & -265 on the reverse puck line. The Wild come in at -115 & +225 on the puck line.
The over for the contest is 5.5 at -120, with the under at +110.
Head over to DraftKings to place your bets now!
How to Watch
Thursday’s contest will be available on MSGSN. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU, and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.