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New York Islanders vs. Remnants of Edmonton Oilers: For what else but revenge?

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Ryan Pulock gets his NHL debut while the Oilers look for revenge

"Let's do this again in Alberta."
"Let's do this again in Alberta."
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders are in Edmonton to try to build on their 3-0 road trip against the Oilers, and both teams will look different from when fans last saw them.

For the perennially last-place Oilers, the annual trade deadline selloff is in full force. Gone are the doghoused Justin Schultz -- remember when he was the NCAA free agent prize, and shame on the Isles for not getting him? -- as well as Teddy Purcell and Anders Nilsson. More are expected to depart before Monday's 3 p.m. EST deadline but probably(?) not before tonight's game.

For the Islanders, changes of a completely different order: Touted 21-year-old defenseman Ryan Pulock gets his NHL debut after waiting through the first two traveling games of this Western road trip. And against a deadend team that may have some players looking to prove themselves with spunk or tomfoolery (hello, Zack Kassian), the Isles have pulled Eric Boulton out of cold storage for his second game of the year.

Islanders (33-19-7, 3rd/Metro) @ Oilers (22-34-7, basement)
9:30 p.m. EST | MSG+, audio,
WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM
[long live hockey's] Coliseum[s]
Lottery & Blue: Copper n Blue

Remember that the Islanders humiliated the Oilers three weeks ago in Brooklyn, and Alberta's once-great franchise has gone winless for seven games, so the potential for "old time hockey" would seem to be high.

"From the goaltender, to the blueline, to the offence, to the defence, to the power play, to the penalty kill, they absolutely drilled us that night. I would say they had their A-game and we were nowhere near ours and things snowballed on us."

Revenge is the name of the game tonight as the Oilers host the Islanders.

"That’s safe to say for sure," said Oilers defenceman Brandon Davidson.

Strangely, despite casting off another forward the Oilers seem set to continue using Nail Yakupov on the fourth line. On the injury front, they are still without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Eric Gryba, among others.

But they still have that Connor McDavid guy, who is kind of good.

The Islanders made room for Boulton by putting Mikhail Grabovski on IR, with him still expected a week or two away. Marek Zidlicky is who makes room for Pulock, and Jaroslav Halak is set to start in goal.

The Oilers are again 30th in the 30-team NHL, which is almost unconscionable for a franchise after this many seasons in the tank. If you want to depress yourself, picture the Islanders rebuild still not resulting in so much as a playoff appearance or escape from the lottery. That's how long the Oilers project has gone on, and apparently it will require a truly generational wunderkind like McDavid to change it.

That and the immediate emergence of McDavid and Leon Draisatl have the Oilers ready to trade a "core" piece or two, likely for blueline help, which is why we would not be surprised to see Travis Hamonic wear a different kind of orange and blue next year.

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