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New York Islanders

Will He Play or Won’t He? Clutterbuck Now a Game-Time Decision

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New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz discussing Cal Clutterbuck

The question over whether Cal Clutterbuck will be in the New York Islanders lineup continues.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz told reporters this afternoon that Clutterbuck is a game-time decision for Game 5 tonight with the Washington Capitals. This comes 24 hours after Trotz indicated that Clutterbuck was ready to go for Game 5.

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“The only one that is an issue is Clutter and that’s a game-time decision,” Trotz said.

Cal Clutterbuck appeared to be injured during the second period of Game 4. He was upended by Radko Gudas late in the middle frame and was not on the bench in the third period for the Islanders. The absence of Clutterbuck would be a blow to the Islanders fourth line, which is at its best when Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin are all on the ice.

Martin told members of the media on Wednesday that he obviously wanted Clutterbuck out there with Cizikas and himself.

“You just try to keep a level head about it,” Martin said Wednesday. “Hopefully he’s alright and we’ll get back out there. At the end of the day, it’s just about winning hockey games. We have to find a way to do that.”

The Islanders were already looking at making some changes to the lineup, Trotz indicated on Wednesday. That still appears to be the case, but they could look different with the current uncertainty surrounding Clutterbuck.

If Cal Clutterbuck is unable to play, Ross Johnston will likely get the nod to take his place. Any lineup change will be thoroughly examined before it’s made.

“We look at everything from play, number one,” Trotz said. “Health, number two, and then what we expect in terms of the game. Trends that you’re seeing in the series. Also maybe you want to put some new life into your line up. New legs. We look at all those types of things.

“You do everything with a purpose. It’s well thought out. It’s just not off the cuff and we’ve looked at all those options. We’ll have some decisions that will be made right before warmups or right before the game.”

The Islanders are looking to close out their best-of-seven series with the Capitals tonight and punch their ticket to the Second Round. The Islanders failed to close out the series on Tuesday in 3-2 loss in Game 4.

New York had been prepared for a fight from Washington and they got one as the Capitals got back to their own game to extend the series. They’re well aware they’ll face another one tonight.

“We know the type of game we have to play to have success,” Jordan Eberle said this afternoon. “When we’re not doing that we don’t. We’ve done it for a couple of years now under Barry. We understand the way we need to play to win hockey games. When we do that and bring all four lines, and six D, and protect our goalie we usually have success.”

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New York Islanders

Three Takeaways: Dobson, Bellows Look Good, Barzal Finds Two-Way Game in Win | NYHN+

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New York Islanders players

The New York Islanders started off the 2020-21 NHL season off on the right foot Thursday night with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers.

The Islanders capitalized on the power play on several occasions, they received timely goaltending when they needed it and their top-six forwards found the back of the net. Not to mention, the play of several young Islanders hoping to maintain their spots on the roster.

Let’s take a look at three takeaways from the Islanders’ season-opening win over their Manhattan rivals:

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New York Islanders

GARDEN PARTY: Lee, Barzal Lead Islanders Shutout Thrashing of Rangers

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New York Islanders Anders lee Mathew Barzal

The New York Islanders will take a start like that any day.

The Islanders scored three times in the first period, anchored by goals from Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal, and kicked off the 2020-21 season with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders on Thursday.

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“I think we just wanted to start on the right foot and get to our game early,” Lee said. “Find that momentum by playing the way we play and I think we did a pretty good of that. It was the result of a good camp and everyone being ready for tonight, and Varly playing a great game as well. Just a good team effort.”

The season-opening win was anchored by a strong effort in the first and third period by the Isles, and a good performance in the net when they needed it from Semyon Varlamov. It was the 10th consecutive opening night start and second with the Islanders for Varlamov, who finished the night with 24 saves.

The opening night shutout was the Isles’ first since Chico Resch accomplished the feat in 1976 against Philadelphia.

“It’s always easy to play like that when we score first,” Varlamov said. “Overall I’m pretty happy with how we did today. I thought the team played very well.”

The Islanders finished the night with 33 shots on net, while holding the young Rangers to 24 shots.

The Isles special teams unit got plenty of work to start the season, with the Rangers giving the Islanders eight power-play chances on Thursday. They capitalized on two of their chances.

It didn’t take long for the Islanders to find the back of the net on Thursday night. It was a mere 2:33 into the game when Nelson lit the lamp for the first of four goals on the evening from the Long Island visitors.

The goal was the fourth fastest the Islanders have scored in a season-opening game in franchise history.

Anthon Beauvillier went for a shot inside the faceoff circle, but had it redirect off the skate of Adam Fox and went right to Nelson in the slot. Nelson quickly put it past Igor Shesterkin for the Isles’ first power-play goal of the year.

Just over a minute later, the Isles struck paydirt again. After Lee took a stick up high he stayed on the ice and after a Rangers turnover was able to create a two-on-one. The Islanders captain fired a shot of the New York goalie’s arm and in for his first of two goals on Thursday.

“I was a little upset. Took one to the teeth and I was making my way back,” Lee said about the goal. “I kind of got lucky that the puck got to Ledds and I could kind of take a chance on hoping that that one got out. He made a great play getting the puck down and it came right to me.”

Barzal capped off a strong first for the Isles with an impressive goal to make it 3-0 after weaving by three Rangers.

Despite a Rangers push in the second, the Islanders were the ones to add a goal in the third. Jordan Eberle threw the puck towards the net and Lee redirected the puck in the slot for his second of the night.

The goal was officially credited to Eberle, but video evidence clearly shows the puck was tipped by Lee.

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New York Islanders

County Exec Laura Curran Cheering on New York Islanders from Quarantine

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Nassau County Exec Laura Curran

As the New York Islanders open their season this evening many Islanders fans will be watching the game from home, which includes Nassau County’s most influential fan of the team county executive Laura Curran.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will be watching the Islanders battle the New York Rangers from quarantine after she was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. Curran tweeted out a video this afternoon about her excitement for being able to watch the season opener in its entirety.

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“I guess the small silver lining of quarantine is that I get I watch TV tonight,” Curran said in the video. “And that means I get to watch the entire Islanders game.  Game one,  taking on the Rangers, 7 p.m. puck drops. I am ready.”

Curran’s office announced that the county executive had been exposed to COVID-19 on Wednesday night and she is at the beginning of a 10-day quarantine. Officials from the county executive’s office declined to disclose to Newsday where Curran had been exposed to the virus for privacy reasons.

Curran has been an unabashed fan of the Islanders and today was the second time in five days the Nassau County politician tweeted about the Islanders. The county executive tweeted “YES! YES! YES!” along with a GIF of Mathew Barzal following news that the Islanders star had re-signed for three years with the team on Saturday.

Curran has been a vocal supporter of the UBS Arena project at Belmont Park and of getting the Islanders back on Long Island before the opening of UBS Arena in the fall. Curran twice lobbied NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum before their new home opens.

In 2019, Curran wrote to Bettman to help persuade him to allow the Islanders to play home playoff games on Long Island. The NHL eventually came to an agreement that allowed the Islanders to play their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum and then after that all home postseason games would move to Barclays Center.

Last year, she called on Bettman again to allow the Islanders to play their final full season before UBS Arena at the Coliseum. The NHL eventually allowed the Islanders to do so after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped in.

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