The New York Islanders are back at it Monday night to host the Calgary Flames on the second game of their eastern road trip. Sunday night the Flames lost in Manhattan and they'll be looking to bounce back.
Last time the rested Islanders faced a team playing back-to-back it didn't go as designed.
The big news of the day is Thomas Hickey's injury from Saturday night in St. Louis is serious enough to put him on IRimmediately. Marek Zidlicky steps returns to the lineup in Hickey's place, resurrecting the prayerful pairing with Brian Strait.
Oh, and Ryan Strome is back after a one-game scratch, hopefully the last "coach's lesson" of his career. As reported at nhl.com, a fire, we imagine, has been lit:
"It [ticks] me off," Strome said Monday. "There's no other way to put it. You never want to be in that situation. You want to be out there helping your team and you think that you can help your team.
"Yeah, I'm upset. I'm [ticked] off. But I think I'm a good teammate and I'm happy for the guys last game. Now my job is to come back and help try and get a win. I think it's an opportunity and another chance to prove yourself and play with a little more fire."
And from the Isles official site:
"I know what I’m capable of. It’s just a matter of consistency," Strome said. "I have to do it every game, not every other game, or every third game. It’s every shift, it’s part of being a pro. It’s my biggest challenge, facing another obstacle now and I have to overcome it."
Jaroslav Halak gets the start in goal.
We'll see if Ryan Strome slots right back into John Tavares' right wing, where Josh Bailey replaced him on Saturday night, or elsewhere. One man who looked excellent on that line was Nikolay Kulemin, but that man fits well everywhere because he can play any aspect of hockey you need.
The struggling Flames sounded like they were making lineup moves up to game time, but we know that Joni Ortio will start in goal after relieving Jonas Hiller last night. Goaltending has been a sore point for the Flames so far this season, and they're not seeing the same good fortune that aided their playoff appearance a season ago.
In last night's 4-1 loss to the Rangers, they looked like this, with Mason Raymond one of the health scratches:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Joe Colborne - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett - Derek Grant - Josh Jooris
Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Mark Giordano - Dennis Wideman
Kris Russell - Deryk Engelland
Ladislav Smid - Dougie Hamilton
Regression of the Night
Better look now, because it's bound to change: The Isles special teams have helped overcome their thus far disappointing five-on-five play. The power play has clicked at 23.8 percent and the penalty kill has taken care of 90 percent.
That will change. Hopefully their share of 5-on-5 will too.