The New York Islanders try to go above NHL .500 and 1-1-1 -- or is it 6-6-6?! -- for the first time this season as the Nashville Predators make their first visit to Brooklyn's ingloriously sponsored Barclays Center.
The Islanders swept Nashville in two games last winter right as the Predators' season-long charge at the top of the standings was starting to slow. Both were crazy contests: The Isles torched Pekka Rinne in the game on Long Island, then came up with a late winner after nearly blowing it in Nashville.
Islanders (1-1-1) vs. Predators (3-0-0)
7 p.m. EDT | [ingloriously sponsored] Center
Broadcast: MSG+, 88.7, 103.9
That first meeting also led to a variable that would haunt the Isles down the stretch: Another concussion for Mikhail Grabovski.
Newday's Arthur Staple spoke with the deliverer of that hit, Long Island boy and Son Of Mr. Islander Eric Nystrom:
Nystrom doesn't expect any retribution from #Isles for hit on Grabovski last Feb. "He had his head down... I didn't even skate into him."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 15, 2015
Like the Jets before them, the Predators arrive undefeated, though they were "unimpressive" wins against three weak opponents (Hurricanes, Oilers, Devils).
The Isles lineup is unchanged from their Monday afternoon win over Winnipeg, including Thomas Greiss in goal:
Anders Lee - John Tavares - Ryan Strome
Brock Nelson - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolay Kulemin
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic
Brian Strait - Marek Zidlicky
On the Forecheck has forward lines and pairings like so:
Forward Line One: Filip Forsberg / Mike Fisher / James Neal
Forward Line Two: Colin Wilson / Mike Ribeiro / Craig Smith
Forward Line Three: Gabriel Bourque / Cody Hodgson / Calle Jarnkrok
Forward Line Four: Eric Nystrom / Paul Gaustad / Austin Watson (or Viktor Arvidsson)
Defensive Pair One: Shea Weber / Roman Josi
Defensive Pair Two: Barret Jackman / Seth Jones
Defensive Pair Three: Mattias Ekholm / Ryan Ellis
Pekka Rinne is expected to start. Hopefully he does a live re-enactment of his final appearance at the Coliseum.
Finally, speaking of that and Nystrom The Younger, he of course will find it odd to face the NYI in a new venue, and has assorted friends back home ticked off by the move, etc.
Eric Nystrom will find it strange to play #Isles in a new building. "It's definitely different. Still the Islanders, but it's different."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 15, 2015
Regression to Watch
"Though early in the season, the Islanders are second in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 57.5%."