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New York Islanders

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



Game 1 Preview for the Islanders and Panthers

There are two things that we know for sure about the New York Islanders lineup today for Game 1.

1. There will be a goaltender.

2. Everyone outside of Ilya Sorokin is available to play.

Other than that, Barry Trotz was not giving out any other information prior to Game 1 against the Florida Panthers. What we can surmise is that most of the lineup we saw on Wednesday will be out there today.

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Could Trotz dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen? “Yes, there’s a chance,” Trotz slyly responded on Friday when asked that.

The Islanders bench boss has notably been evasive about who will be in net for the first game. If Wednesday is any indication, it will likely be Semyon Varlamov, who made 19 saves in two periods of work against the New York Rangers.

Then, of course, there is the question of who will play alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard on the third line. Ross Johnston spent all of Wednesday’s exhibition tilt on that line and split time on that line with Tom Kuhnhakl during training camp.

Whoever is on the ice for the Islanders come 4 pm today, Trotz is confident that they’ll be in playoff mode.

“They’ve been working towards this moment, if you will, for the last few months,” Trotz said Friday after practice. “Knowing that we were going to get back into it. I think we’ve put ourselves in as good a place that we can to be our best.

“Hopefully our best is good enough.”

For their part, the players have been itching to get back on the ice in a competitive manner. The Islanders got a taste of that on Wednesday in the exhibition match, but Game 1 will have a much different feel than that.

And there will be no shortage of jump from the team.

“It does feel like we have a playoff game tomorrow,” Cal Clutterbuck said on Friday. “Just given the last eight weeks…it’s been a lot of practicing and a long time coming. I don’t think you have to search very far for motivation in this situation. It’s an opportunity you don’t get all the time. There’s going to be no lack of motivation.”

Projected Islanders Lines:

Anders Lee β€” Mat Barzal β€” Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier β€” Brock Nelson β€” Josh Bailey

Ross Johnston β€” Jean-Gabriel Pageau β€” Derick Brassard

Matt Martin β€” Casey Cizikas β€” Cal Clutterbuck


Adam Pelech β€” Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews β€” Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy β€” Johnny Boychuk


Semyon Varlamov

Thomas Greiss

Three X-Factors for the Islanders and Panthers in Qualifying Round Series | NYHN+

Florida Panthers

Like the Islanders, the Florida Panthers have a healthy roster of players to choose from for Game 1. Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in net for Florida and the team’s top defensive pairing of MacKenzie Weegar and Aaron Ekblad will be in the lineup.

Both defenders sat out of Wednesday’s 5-0 exhibition loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Sasha Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov should be back as the top line as well. Florida head coach Joel Quenneville split that line up for the first two periods on Wednesday but put them back together in the third period.

Projected Panthers Lines:

Jonathan Huberdeau — Sasha Barkov — Evgenii Dadonov

Frank Vatrano — Erik Haula — Mike Hoffman

Lucas Wallmark — Brian Boyle — Brett Connolly

Mark Pysyk — Noel Acciari —Β  Colton Sceviour


MacKenzie Weegar — Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman — Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle — Mike Matheson


Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger

Game Notes:

The Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers in all three meetings during the regular season this year. The Islanders first win over the Panthers on Oct 12 was the first game in a stretch of 10 straight victories for the Isles and 17 consecutive games with points.

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, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.

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New York Islanders

Josh Bailey Added to COVID List After Missing Practice on Wednesday



Josh Bailey

After missing practice on Wednesday, Josh Bailey was added to the list of players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol. Bailey became the first New York Islanders player to make the list since the season started last week.

Josh Bailey was not on the ice on Wednesday and Islanders coach Barry Trotz said that he was “not available” when asked about his absence by NYI Hockey Now. However, the Islanders bench boss lent hope to the idea that Bailey could be available on Thursday when they face the New Jersey Devils.

Bailey’s appearance on the list does not mean he has tested positive for COVID-19, but teams are being cautious under the circumstances.

Per the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols there are several reasons a player could find their way onto the protocol list. Josh Bailey could have symptoms, but not the virus. NHL rules say that symptomatic players have to test negative twice or must go 10 days without symptoms.

Asymptomatic players can leave quarantine if they test negative for COVID or go 10 days without symptoms.

Michael Dal Colle skated with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Leo Komarov during practice at Northwell Health Ice Center. Ross Johnston rotated into the line as well.

Kieffer Bellows skated with Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson, according to Newsday’s Laura Albanese.

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New York Islanders

GREENE TEAM: Veteran Defenseman Andy Greene Prepares to Face Former ‘Mates



Andy Greene

COVID-19 altered or canceled many things over the course of the roughly 10 months that the United States and the rest of the world have dealt with the virus. Among those milestones or events that had to be put off was the chance for Andy Greene to play against his former team, the New Jersey Devils.

Greene was acquired by the New York Islanders in mid-February and would have faced his former team in mid-March had it not been for the league postponing the season on March 12. The veteran defenseman will finally get that chance on Thursday when the Isles play New Jersey in the first of two matchups over the next four days.

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The Islanders will host New Jersey at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night and then travel to the Prudential Center on Sunday.

“Obviously first time doing this and you know it’s going to be strange,” Greene said after the Islanders practiced on Long Island Wednesday. “it will be weird, but once we get out there I’m sure strange seeing a couple of those guys that I still have a really good relationship with. I don’t know (how it will be).

“I know it’s kind of weird. Once the puck drops and we get through the first shift there it will be hockey as usual, but for sure it will be my first time going through it.”

The 15-year NHL defenseman had been a lifelong Devil before he was traded last season to boost the Islanders’ depth at the blue line. Adam Pelech had been lost for the season following a freak injury in January and while Noah Dobson had been performing admirably in his place, the Isles needed some help.

Andy Greene only played three regular-season games in New York before COVID-19 shut down the season. The vet was able to establish his role during the postseason, where he became a vital piece in the Islanders’ run to the conference finals.

While Greene and his family have adjusted going from Devils to Islanders since the February trade, there are still little adjustments that they’re getting used to.

For instance, on Monday with the Islanders playing a matinee Greene’s two young sons were able to watch the home opener against the Boston Bruins. The Greenes watched the game from home, like the rest of the fans, and Greene’s 3-year-old son got all excited when the MSG+ broadcast showed Sparky, the Islanders mascot.

However, it did raise one pressing question for the youngest member of the Greene family.

“He was like, ‘where is NJ Devil,'” Greene said. “We were like, ‘well bud he’s not there, We’re not there anymore he’s not going to be there, but maybe on Sunday you’ll be able to see him on TV there.'”

And while Greene’s family adjusts to the change in mascots, Greene will have to find a way to play through facing guys that he came up with in theΒ  NHL. Travis Zajac and Greene played for New Jersey together for nearly their entire careers.

Andy Greene and Zajac both made their NHL debuts during the 2006-07 and the two developed a close friendship.

“That will be obviously the more weird ones to play against,” Greene said. “Obviously knowing him, just the relationship we have together and everything we’ve been through together as teammates and friends. It will be fun. It will be good. Obviously, it will be a great challenge.”

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New York Islanders

Oliver Wahlstrom could give New York Islanders scoring jolt



Oliver Wahlstrom

Since the New York Islanders three-goal barrage in the first period against the New York Rangers on opening night, the team has amassed just two goals over the ensuing eight periods.

Yes, it’s a small sample size and still early in the season, but in an abbreviated campaign, each game’s importance is magnified.

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Through three games, the Islanders rank 28th in the league in Corsi For percentage (42.45, per Natural Stat Trick), and just haven’t generated a ton of sustained offensive zone time outside of a brilliant start a Madison Square Garden. Hockey Reference has the Islanders at 0.7 expected goals for per game, which is tied for last with the New Jersey Devils.

It’s not time to sound the alarm bells, but it’s also not ideal to hit the snooze button and let the problem linger.

Up and down the lineup the Islanders can get more contributions from everyone. But a little tweak on the third line might go a long way. Adding 20-year-old Oliver Wahlstrom might just give the team a little spark.

With the departure of Derrick Brassard, the Islanders have so far relied on a third line of Kieffer Bellows, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ross Johnston. That line has seen the fewest ice time of any of the offensive units, although Pageau has played in a bit of a hybrid role and has skated with other teammates and has received special teams time.

Semyon Varlamov Dominant in Shutout Win Over Boston Bruins

Right now that third line is acting more like a fourth, and not giving the Islanders much — if any — scoring depth. Bellows and Johnston have each have recorded just one shot on goal through three games. Even in limited playing time, that’s just not enough to make any tangible difference.

Sure, one could argue that this group is out there to create a forecheck and maybe give the Islanders an extra physical presence. But the fourth line already fulfills that role, and with Matt Martin already in the lineup, Barry Trotz and the Islanders are double-dipping a bit by keeping Johnston out there.

Oliver Wahlstrom has only nine games of NHL experience under his belt from last year, but did produce 22 points over 45 AHL games with Bridgeport last year. As a 19-year-old with the big club last season, he did produce a 46 percent CF percentage in those nine games, which isn’t at all terrible for a first cup of coffee as a teenager at hockey’s highest level.

On loan in Sweden this winter, Wahlstrom produced four goals and four assists over 10 games and flashed the offensive zone ability he was lauded for when the Islanders used a first-round pick on him in 2018. Wahlstrom has a high ceiling and plenty of skill with the puck, which could give the team an added element it is right now lacking.

When Michael Dal Colle officially returns from injured reserve, he’ll likely get a shot to skate on Pageau’s wing on the third line. Trotz said on Tuesday that Dal Colle was “real close” to coming off IR.

With 17 points in 85 games, Dal Colle probably won’t move the scoring needle a ton for the Islanders.

It might not be a huge difference-maker right now, but giving Oliver Wahlstrom a chance to come off the taxi squad and into the lineup could give the Islanders a little bit of an offensive spark and take the pressure off some of the top-six forwards.

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