After surviving a but-for-the-grace-of-Greiss overtime and for-the-grace-of-the-league shootout review last night in Anaheim, the New York Islanders will try to double down on their southern California luck tonight in Los Angeles.
After Thomas Greiss saved their second point last night, Jaroslav Halak will return to the crease tonight. Cal Clutterbuck, who left last night’s game with an injury, is a question mark but was on the ice for the optional morning skate. If he can’t go, Shane Prince will.
The Los Angeles Kings will start Peter Budaj, who — don’t laugh — is 10-6-1 with a .915 overall save percentage in 18 consecutive starts taking over for the injured Official Moulson Brother-in-Law Jonathan Quick.
Unfortunately for the Isles, the Kings are expected to have Anze Kopitar back after missing five games.
Of note with the Kings this season: They have a resurrection project in Devin Setoguchi, who made the roster and has become a regular after being invited to training camp on a PTO.
After last night’s win the Islanders are still in last and the Metro and indeed the East at 6-8-4. Tomorrow is U.S. Thanksgiving, proverbially known as the arbitrarily selected spot on the calendar where a team is either #$%’d or “still in it.”
Of course, there’s a reason the league has teams play 82 games instead of 19 to determine playoff combatants. But there’s also a reason analysts observer trends in the first quarter of the season to see which teams have red flags or hidden strengths.
Hint: The Isles have lots of red flags.
Hey, He Said It
Thomas Hickey, expressing the terror that lies within us all:
“We needed [those two points] so bad,” Hickey said after the Isles won their first shootout of the season in three tries. “We need the two tomorrow and the two after that, as well. But it starts here.”
Also in Newsday’s coverage, Hickey said this about Greiss, which was...interesting:
He’s so calm out there, it really spills over to everyone. Even in the shootout, he’s just an old-school, stand-up style goaltender who doesn’t let much get to him.”
How to Watch, and Very Late
This one starts a half hour later than the Anaheim game, though without OT, a lengthy shootout, and a lengthy shootout review it may be over before...whatever is on late night TV these days!
This one airs on MSG+, plus WFAN 660AM + 101.9FM, and WRHU 88.7FM.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 10:30 p.m. EST.