The New York Islanders are hoping a return to home ice will return them some of their good fortunes. After dropping a pair of games to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders are back at the Nassau Coliseum to host the Buffalo Sabres tonight.
The meeting is another important matchup for the Islanders, who are tied with Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia Flyers at 19 points in the division. Tonight’s matchup is the third game this season between Buffalo and the Islanders.
“You can’t look back, but let’s recognize areas or moments where we have to be really hard and take care of business,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “I wouldn’t necesarily say what’s haunted us this year is team play is as much individual lapses at times, which end up in the back of our net. If we can clean those up. Every game is playoff game and every moment matters.
“Moments matter right now and we haven’t won enough moments, so we just need to win those moments alittle bit more.”
🎥 Barry Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/4LbzQfB1iV
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 22, 2021
Unlike the previous two, the Isles will be without forward Micahel Dal Colle, who suffered an injury after blocking a shot on Tuesday in Buffalo. Dal Colle has missed the last two games because of it, but he is progressing towards a return in the near future.
Dal Colle was skating when Trotz was addressing the media. “He’s pretty close,” Trotz said about his return.
With Dal Colle still injured, the Islanders lineup will look similar to how it did on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Semyon Varlamov will also get the start in goal.
“We knew that Varly could come right back today based on workload,” Trotz explained. “Then we have a couple games off, so there’s a good chance you’ll see him against Boston.”
Buffalo could tweak their lineup for tonight’s game, with Jeff Skinner potentially being a healthy scratch. Skinner practiced with the taxi squad on Sunday during the team’s practice in New Jersey and Casey Mittelstadt took his usual spot, according to WGR 550.
Buffalo head coach Ralph Krueger wouldn’t say if Skinner would indeed be scratched following Sunday’s practice. They did not have a morning skate today and Krueger won’t address the media until later this afternnoon.
“You saw a potential change in the mix today, we won’t confirm it until tomorrow,” Krueger said on Sunday.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Leo Komarov — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Buffalo Sabres Lineup (Projected)
Victor Olofsson — Jack Eichel — Sam Reinhart
Taylor Hall — Eric Staal — Dylan Cozens
Tobias Rieder — Cody Eakin — Kyle Okposo
Casey Mittelstadt — Curtis Lazar — Riley Sheahan
Rasmus Dahlin — Colin Miller
Matt Irwin — Brandon Montour
Brandon Davidson — Henri Jokiharju
The Islanders have won five straight against Buffalo as well as five straight at home. … Brock Nelson will surpass Denis Potvin’s 262 games for the fifth-longest consecutive game streak in club history tonight. Nelson has three goals in his last four games and recorded his first even-strength goal of the year on Saturday. … Tonight kicks off a stretch that will see the Islanders play nine of their next 10 games at the Nassau Coliseum. … Tonight’s game is the start of Buffalo’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. They face the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night in Newar. … Buffalo’s penalty kill is 18-for-20 (90.0%) in the team’s last 11 games against the Islanders. … Sam Reinhart has four points (two goals, two assists) through his last four games and enters tonight’s matchup on a two-game point streak.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air on MSG+ 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.