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Islanders vs. Ducks Preview: Line blender heads West

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Also: Greiss starts for the first time in three weeks

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at New York Islanders
Happier times: Bailey beats the Ducks in the OT home opener.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders (5-8-4) head west with yet another new look in their lines and, for the first time in three weeks, a different starter in the goal crease tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the first time since Nov. 1, ending a run of seven consecutive starts by Jaroslav Halak.

Up front, Anthony Beauvillier is the latest to return to John Tavares’ wing — ending the latest Ryan Strome-as-top-line-wing experiment at one game — while Strome drops next to Brock Nelson and Nikolai Kulemin.

With Beauvillier, who played center last game, shifting back to wing, center Alan Quine slots back into the lineup for winger Shane Prince.

The lines based on the above changes:

Bailey - Tavares - Beauvillier
Kulemin - Nelson - Strome
Ladd - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Lee - Quine - Chimera

The Islanders are 1-3-4 this month, so...why not.

After a three-day break, it’s a tough assignment here: Three games in four nights, including back-to-back tonight and tomorrow (in Los Angeles), followed by a late afternoon meeting with the Sharks the day after U.S. Thanksgiving.

In years past this November California swing has been the death knell for a coach (Scott Gordon) or the “We’re ALIVE!” rebound for a team that found its footing on the way to the playoffs.

So, take three of these and call me Saturday morning.

The Opposition

The Ducks, you may recall, brought back Randy Carlyle as coach after not getting clutchy enough in the playoffs under Bruce Boudreau. Despite all predictions to the contrary, the Ducks have been kinda okay.

At 9-7-1 they are in third in the Pacific (tied with the fourth-place Kings on points) and, based on the shoddy condition of the bottom half of the Pacific, they are decent bets to get a playoff spot this season.

But like the Islanders, except a little less so (and differently), the Ducks are in the bottom quadrant of the league by several possession/control-of-play numbers, per the Carlyle tradition. The difference is that the Isles are a high-event team — lots of shots for, and lots more against — while the Ducks (again per the Carlyle tradition) by comparison are a low-event team.

Prediction

Carlyle is unhappy with sniper-pest Corey Perry and told him so, so look for Perry to naturally net two goals in a frustrating and thoroughly depressing 2-1 Ducks win that leaves you questioning why the hell you stayed up so late.

How to Watch

Late, very late.

TV/Radio: MSG+, WFAN 660AM - 101.9FM, 88.7FM WRHU, WRCN 103.9 FM

Follow Ducks coverage and snark at Anaheim Calling.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks over here by game time, which is 10 p.m. EST.