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New York Islanders

Playoff Gameday: Islanders Game 1 Lines and Notes vs. Capitals

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Islanders Capitals Game 1

It’s hard to imagine that this is only Game 1 of the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but here we are.

The Islanders begin their Series with the Washington Capitals this afternoon at 3 p.m. It will be the first time that the Islanders face the Capitals in the postseason since 2015 and the first time Barry Trotz will go up against his former club in the playoffs.

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There won’t be much change in the Islanders lineup when they hit the ice for Game 1. The Islanders are expected to keep much of their lineup intact from their previous series against the Florida Panthers. Johnny Boychuk is expected to be ready for the opening game against Washington and Ross Johnston is “in the mix” to crack the lineup.

Johnston can provide the Islanders with another big body that can play a physical game.

They will need that against a talented and tough Washington squad. The Capitals notably play a much more physical game than the Panthers did in the Qualifying Round. Trotz went as far as to compare Johnston to Tom Wilson, who the Islanders will see this round.

That’s without mentioning the fact the Islanders will need to slow down guys like Alex Ovechkin and the other plethora of offensive talent on the Caps roster.

“He’s a very dangerous offensive player,” said Semyon Varlamov, who will be tasked with stopping Ovechkin between the pipes. “He scores a lot of goals. We’re going to have to play very smart against him and then try to take care of him.”

Ovechkin isn’t the only one they’ll need to worry about. Nicklas Backstrom has 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists) during the regular season, Wilson has 21 goals on the year and John Carlson has 75 points (15 goals, 60 assists).

Not to mention the Capitals possess a dangerous power play that can drive even the best teams up a wall.

“They’re obviously a very solid squad. They were champions a couple of years ago,” Jordan Eberle said. “You look at their lineup they obviously have a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net. They’re a dynamic team. They’re big. We’ll definitely have our hands full in a lot of situations.”

Islanders Projected Lines

Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey

Derick Brassard — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov

Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck

Defense

Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy — Johnny Boychuk

Goalies

Semyon Varlamov

Thomas Greiss

Washington Capitals

The Capitals will be without Lars Eller for Game 1. The Washinton forward left the bubble to be with his wife for the birth of their child. He has returned to the Toronto bubble, but he did not practice yesterday and Capitals coach Todd Reirden ruled him out for today’s game.

The Capitals coach also indicated that John Carlson will be a game-time decision for Game 1. Travis Boyd will remain in the Capitals lineup today.

Capitals Project Lines

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin — Travis Boyd — Ilya Kovalchuk

Richard Panik — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Defense

Michal Kempny — John Carlson

Brenden Dillon — Dmitry Orlov

Jonas Siegenthaler — Nick Jensen

Goalies

Braden Holtby

Vitek Vanecek

Islanders Not Expecting Qualifying Round Boost Over Capitals | NYHN+

Game Notes

Today’s game will be the eighth time that the Islanders and Capitals have met in the postseason. The Islanders hold a 21-16 edge against the Caps in the playoff games. Their last meeting was back in 2015 when Washington defeated New York in seven games in the First round. …. The Islanders split the season series with the Capitals 2-2 during the 2019-20 campaign. In their two games against Washington in the new year, they dropped a Jan. 18 meeting 6-4 at Nassau Coliseum and defeated them 5-3 on Feb. 10 on the road. … Casey Cizikas led the Islanders this season with three goals against the Caps, while Ovechkin was the Capitals leading scorer against the Islanders with three goals this year.

How to Watch

Locally the game will air on MSG+ and MSG GO, and nationally on NBCSN. For those outside the New York market, the game can also be streamed on NHL.TV. On the radio dial, the game will air on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 1050 ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.

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New York Islanders

Anders Lee Looks Back While Waiting for What’s Ahead with Islanders

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Anders Lee

While the hockey world looks forward and waits to find out when or even if the 2020-21 season will start, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee took a moment to look back and reflect.

Lee and the Islanders are now just over a month removed from their season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Tampa Bay. It had been the deepest the Islanders had gone in the playoffs since 1993 and the run shocked much of the hockey world.

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New York Islanders

What Could Home Games Look Like for the New York Islanders Next Season?

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New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum

There are a lot of questions about the 2020-21 NHL season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed at the draft that the league was looking at a Jan. 1 start date. Outside of that, not much is known about their plan. The NHL has said in the past that they’d like to play a full 82 game schedule, but even that remains a question.

And for owners, the question of whether fans will be allowed in the building when games do start remains a major concern. The NHL, unlike NBA or NFL, is a gate driven league and relies heavily on paying customers filling the seats at arenas.

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Free Agency

Free Agency: Martin, Greene Likely to Return to Islanders for Next Season

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New York Islanders logo

It seems all but certain that Andy Greene is returning to the New York Islanders, and the same goes for Matt Martin.

The Islanders continue to sit in a holding pattern as they look to free up cap space via trades, but things seem to be pointing to a return for the two NHL veterans. General manager Lou Lamoriello called the return of Greene “a very strong option” during a Zoom conference call on Monday night and multiple reports indicated that the Islanders and Martin are working on a deal.

Greene’s return makes even more sense following the trade of Devon Toews to Colorado on Monday. Greene has worked with Noah Dobson, who will take Toews’ place on the blue line, in the past and proved extremely valuable during the postseason.

The soon to be 38-year-old — Greene’s birthday is on Oct. 30 — could be looking at a one-year deal from the Islanders to provide that veteran presence on the blue line. Greene had four points (two goals, two assists) in 21 playoff games with the Islanders.

Martin also had an impressive postseason of his own with five goals in 21 games, which matched his regular-season total. The fan-favorite has been a mainstay on the fourth line alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas.

Martin’s deal with the Islanders, or anyone else for that matter should it get to that point, would be far less than the four-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. That carried a $2.5 million AAV and that is much higher than what the Islanders can afford at the moment.

Devon Toews Traded to Colorado for Second Round Picks

The decision to move Toews on Monday came out of necessity so that the Islanders could get back some pieces to sweeten any potential trades that would move some of their pricier contracts and free up some more salary cap room. The Islanders have been working with just $8.9 million in cap space.

The Islanders still need to re-sign restricted free agents Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock and trading away the likes of Johnny Boychuk or another hefty contract would help make that task simpler.

The Fourth Period reported that the Islanders have been shopping Boychuk around. Boychuk has two years left on a deal that carries an AAV of $6 million and a list if eight teams he can be traded to. Leo Komarov is also reportedly being shopped by the Islanders.

Komarov also has two years left on his contract, which has a $3 million AAV and a seven-team no-trade list.

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