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New York Islanders

Islanders Practice Report: Preparing For Important Weekend; Wahlstrom Close To Return




East Meadow, NY– The New York Islanders have begun their season with a strong 2-0-0 start, posting wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. But their upcoming game against the New Jersey Devils poses the toughest challenge yet and possibly the biggest in the early portion of the Islanders’ schedule.

Coming off a 112-point season, New Jersey was highly touted heading into the year as a top team in the Eastern Conference and a contender for the Stanley Cup. However, the Devils have stumbled out of the gates, dropping two of their first three contests in ugly fashion.

The Islanders have an opportunity tomorrow at UBS Arena to take advantage of their struggling divisional rival, knowing they won’t stay down for long.

“It’s really important,” Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson said. “Any divisional game, especially at home, we got to come out strong. Jersey is a really good team. We saw that last year. All the games are pretty tight, so we’ll make sure we’re ready to go right from the start.”

The Devils are the first opponent in a set of back-to-back games for the Islanders, who will fly to Buffalo for a rematch with the Sabres on Saturday.

“We have a big game tomorrow,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “With a back-to-back weekend, the rest yesterday was important ahead of a good solid practice today. We got ourselves ready to go and back into game-ready, battle shape.”

The Islanders ran the same lines in practice as they did in their win over Arizona on Tuesday.

Defenseman Scott Mayfield missed his third straight practice on Thursday and is still listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Lambert confirmed that Mayfield has not skated since blocking a shot off his left ankle last Saturday, making it unlikely he’ll be ready to play for the Islanders tomorrow.

Meanwhile, it seems that forward Oliver Wahlstrom is inching his way closer to cracking the Islanders’ lineup after being a scratch through the first two games of the season.

“He’s just got to keep working,” Lambert said. “His opportunity will come, whether that’s tomorrow, the next day or whatever it might be. Everything is getting better and trending upward.”

With the Islanders’ back-to-back schedule this weekend, there may be a chance that Wahlstrom gets his first game action in nearly 10 months against either the Devils or Sabres.




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