New York Islanders head coach hinted that changes could be coming to the lineup and that appears to be the case in Tampa Bay on Monday night.
The game is the penultimate contest of the Islanders’ historic 13-game road trip to start the season. At 5-4-2, the Islanders sit in last place in the Metropolitan Division and are five points out of a wild card spot. They have also dropped back-to-back games entering Monday’s Stanley Cup Semifinals rematch.
The latest results for the New York Islanders have prompted Trotz to potentially make several lineup changes. Zach Parise and Josh Bailey swapped spots on the first and third line, moving up Parise to the top unit over the weekend. Noah Dobson was seen skating with the extras on Monday morning following an optional morning skate at Amalie Arena.
Noah Dobson and Ross Johnston the only two #Isles remaining on the ice after optional morning skate for extra work. Barry Trotz said he was thinking of personnel changes for tonight. Dobson has played every game but it could be Sebastian Aho making season's debut tonight.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 15, 2021
If Dobson is scratched, then Sebastian Aho would make his season debut in Dobson’s place. Aho made the New York Islanders out of training camp, but had yet to play in their first 11 games even as Zdeno Chara struggled at the start of the year.
Aho appeared in just three games last season with the Islanders and registered a goal and an assist. All together Aho has played in 25 NHL games.
Trotz didn’t reveal too much about his lineup ahead of Monday’s game. The Islanders bench boss said that everyone was available, but indicated that could change because of a non-COVID-related illness.
It had forced Casey Cizikas to miss Saturday’s practice, but the fourth-line centerman was back on the ice the following day.
Trotz didn’t indicate who would start in net for the Islanders, who play in Tampa on Monday and then in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Varlamov had made his season debut last Sunday in Minnesota against the Wild, but Ilya Sorokin has played in a majority of games this season.
With the back-to-back, Varlamov could play on Monday and Sorokin would then start on Tuesday.
“When do look at some games in terms of the schedule we do look at their records,” Trotz said about how he deploys his goaltenders. “If there’s a big enough sample, for sure.”
🎥 Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/bJRrbmWHo8
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) November 15, 2021
Monday’s game will mark two milestones for Islanders players. Andy Greene will appear in his 1,000th career game and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will play in his 500th game.
“Not something you think about as you’re starting your career,” Greene said about his impending milestone. “Like I’ve said multiple times when you first start off, you’re worried about your first game. … You’re battling to stay in. That’s what I’ve tried to do throughout my whole career, just kind of scratch and claw and go from here.”
Defenseman Erik Cernak will not play for Tampa Bay and Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal.
New York Islanders Lines (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Zach Parise
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri
Josh Bailey — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Scott Mayfield
Zdeno Chara — Ryan Pulock
Andy Greene — Sebastian Aho
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines (Projected)
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn — Steven Stamkos — Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Taylor Raddysh — Ross Colton — Alex Barre-Boulet
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Cal Foote
Tampa’s Alex Killorn has recorded a point in each of his last three games, including an assist on Saturday night against Florida. … Tampa bay is on a season-long seven-game point run (5-0-2) and has recorded points in eight of their last nine contests (5-1-3). … Tampa Bay has allowed two or fewer goals in six of their last seven games. They also lead the NHL for the fewest goals against per game played at 1.86 since that stretch started on Oct. 26. … The Islanders have allowed just four first-period goals this season. … New York opened the scoring in nine of their eleven games this season. They are 5-2-2 when they score first. … The Islanders are 2-0-0 on the front end of back-to-back games this season.
How to Watch
Monday’s Stanley Cup Semifinals rematch will air on MSG+ and MSG Go. On the radio dial, the game will be broadcast on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.