The New York Islanders return from their wondrously merciful two-day gap between games to host the Calgary Flames in the first half of a home back-to-back weekend. The Hurricanes visit for an early 5 p.m. start tomorrow night.
For a look at how the Flames have gotten to where they are today -- still defying odds and analytics to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff bubble -- check out HockeyGoalieEh's reflexive Flames Q&A from earlier today. (Pulling double- and triple-duty, he also has perspectives over at SB Nation's Flames site, Matchsticks and Gasoline.)
As they complete their New York-area tour -- a loss to the Rangers, a win over the Devils -- the Flames would obviously love to have this one. At 70 points they are tied with Los Angeles in the Pacific but trail Minnesota by a point for the final wild card spot out West.
Lineup notes follow below.
Flames (33-24-4, t-3rd/Pacific) @ Islanders (40-20-2, t-1st/Metro)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+2 (twice the plus!) | WRHU
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
HockeyGoalieEh and Friends: Matchsticks and Gasoline
- Jaroslav Halak is in net for the Isles, trying once again for sole possession of the franchise record for goalie victories in a season. I'm not going to say he'll get there sometime, because I may have jinxed him last time I trotted out that pr*j*cti*n-like statement.
- Karri Ramo is the proverbial hot hand and will start again for Calgary.
- After taking a scary landing two games ago and having his minutes guarded in the 5-1 over the Coyotes, Frans Nielsen is still in the lineup. He took a "maintenance" day yesterday.
- The Isles lineup remains the same as last game, outside of the goalie swap.
- The big news for Calgary is they lost all-important defenseman Mark Giordano, who is out at least tonight and maybe more.
Asked about how you prepare for a team that just lost Giordano, Jack Capuano stayed on point [mp3]:
"Well, we've got injuries too. Okposo, Grabovski, Cizikas. ... It's about us playing our game."
And what a wonderful game it is. At even strength.
History, In a Way
This is the Flames' final visit to Nassau Coliseum. The expansion siblings faced off in the Islanders' first game at Nassau Coliseum 43 years ago:
Newspaper photo of first-ever #Isles game at Nassau Coliseum, Oct 7, 1972 (vs. #Flames) pic.twitter.com/HoKznd3gMe— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) February 27, 2015