Bailey to Nielsen's Wing: First Comes Moves, Then Comes Line Changes

Cizikas: 9-10 on faceoffs so far. Sample size increases by 50% tonight!

Line juggling isn't normally cause for a new post here, but today's mix is rare enough and different enough that we'll call your attention to it ahead of tonight's game [our a.m. preview is here]. It appears the Islanders will try some players in new roles tonight, with rookie Nino Niederreiter taking the scratch as Josh Bailey returns to the lineup -- at wing.

From the Islanders, the altered bottom three lines (at least to begin the game):

David Ullstrom - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey
Michael Grabner - Casey Cizikas - Kyle Okposo
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Newsday's Arthur Staple has more from Jack Capuano and Grabner on his game. Cizikas, in his third NHL game after turning 21 yesterday, gets to remain at center.

Upon Cizikas' callup for Bailey's back injury, the outside question was: "What if Cizikas shows himself better at center than Bailey?" That's far from entering the data collection phase, but it's an evaluation worth pursuing. Bailey still hasn't excelled at center and still suffers at faceoffs, so wing (where he's been tried before) might again have to be an option for him.

Should be interesting to see Nielsen carrying a green forward in Ullstrom and a center/winger who's never stopped being green in Bailey. Meanwhile, FNGO becomes ... CCGO? Which line draws the tougher matchups tonight?

Capuano has not stuck with any of his minor line shakeups for long, so odds are we're playing much ado about nothing. But with new blood in it's still a fun thought exercise. One we'll see play out on the ice -- at least for a little bit.

Evgeni Nabokov starts, of course.

Meanwhile, did you know? Brian Rolston didn't play a lot.

And a Fornabaio note: With Mark Katic off IR, the organization's injury list is now just Rick DiPietro and Dylan Reese. Knock. On. Wood.

* * *

Note for FIG Pool: If you selected Nino for First Islanders Goal tonight (or for an assist) before learning he was scratched, you are allowed to go in and change your pick/add a new one.

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