New York Islanders fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be back in the lineup tonight when they face the Washington Capitals.
The Isles centerman missed Sunday’s game after he was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list along with defenseman Noah Dobson. It’s certainly welcome news for New York that has to face a Washington team that is two points back of them for first place in the division.
Pageau has been an important asset in every facet of the Islanders game.
“I’m sure he’s thrilled he doesn’t have COVID. We’re obviously happy he’s available for us,” Matt Martin said. “He’s such a key part of our team. Play in all situations and just a good locker room guy as well.”
As for Dobson, the Islanders are still waiting on word whether he will be available or not. Sebastian Aho took Dobson’s spot on the blue line after Dobson was pulled from the game after warmups.
Tonight will be less chaotic than Sunday when the Islanders were hit with several surprises ahead of their win over New Jersey. Anders Lee was placed on LTIR before the game then Pagaeau had to go on the COVID protocol list and then Dobson was pulled from the game at the last minute as well.
The New York Islanders still managed to pull it together and pick up a win on Sunday night.
🎥 Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/cD0iiFQjHT
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 16, 2021
“We used the term we’ll be organized and prepared and adaptable,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz explained about his team’s readiness in any circumstance. “You see it around the league. The league is doing such a good job on the protocols. Sometimes through the protocols, you have to adapt. That’s really what we’re about and the guys did a good job the other day getting their minds right. And getting the win.”
It’s unclear what the rest of the Islanders will look like or if any further changes will be made. If Dobson is unable to play, it’s like Aho will be back in the lineup for New York. It’s also within reason that Trotz will turn back to Semyon Varlamov to guard the net in Washington tonight.
Tonight will mark only the third meeting between New York and Washington this season, all of which have been played at Capital One Arena. The Islander dropped both of those meetings in late January, the first one being a 3-2 loss on Jan. 26 and the second coming days later on Jan 28 in the form of a 6-3 loss.
The Islanders are currently on a nine-game winning streak and could match the 10 game streak they had last season with another victory tonight.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Kieffer Bellows — 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 — Sebastian Aho
Washington Capitals Lineup (Projected)
Alex Ovechkin — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Daniel Sprong
Conor Sheary — Nic Dowd — Richard Panik
Carl Hagelin — Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon — John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Justin Schultz
Zdeno Chara — Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Washington has had an impressive offensive season this year, ranking first in five-on-five goals (71) this season and shooting percentage (12.3). … Nicklas Backstrom leads Washington in goals, assists and points through 28 games this season. To date, Backstrom has 11 goals and 21 assists for 31 points. … Washington is 18-6-4 at the midseason point, which is good for a .714 point percentage. That is the fourth-highest point percentage the Capitals have had at the midway point of a season in franchise history. … The Islanders have picked up points in 20 of their last 22 games. … The Islanders have surrendered 64 goals through 29 games, which is the fewest the club has allowed in that span ever. They also have the second-lowest goals against per game in the league at 2.17. … Kieffer Bellows has recorded three goals in his last two games.
How to Watch
Tonight’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.