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New York Islanders

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

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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

Defense:

Adam Pelech β€” Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews β€” Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy β€” Johnny Boychuk

Goalies:

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

Defense:

MacKenzie Weegar — Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman — Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle — Mike Matheson

Goalies:

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

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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