The New York Islanders continue a nine-game road trip tonight by meeting the team who hired the coach everyone (or everyone’s fans) really wanted.
Claude Julien, late of the Boston Bruins, now in a return for the Montreal Canadiens, had his pick of options. Reporting was the Isles didn’t make contact with him when he became available after they’d named Doug Weight their interim head coach.
But that won’t keep us from playing “what if?” tonight, next month, and for the rest of eternity, which is the length of Islanders fans’ memories.
Anyway, the Canadiens won their first game under Julien and are really, really in a Slap Shot kind of way hoping to try and win this one too.
The Islanders arrive with two key forward injuries to add to the continued absence of defenseman Travis Hamonic: No Casey Cizikas, no Cal Clutterbuck.
Though the Islanders have plenty of natural centers at their disposal, they appear set to go with continuity on the top six by having both Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome on the wings, with Anthony Beauvillier — another natural center who has spent plenty of time on the wing in his rookie season — between them.
That leaves the third and fourth lines centered by oft-center Alan Quine and oft-scratch Stephen Gionta. Gionta would be between Cizikas’ normal left winger Nikolay Kulemin and right wing Bracken Kearns, who was recalled from Bridgeport after this week’s injuries.
Naturally, tonight’s goalies are Thomas Greiss and Carey Price. (That rhymes. FYI.)
This one’s on MSG+ for TV, plus 660AM, 101.9FM - WFAN, 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News.
Check Habs Eyes on the Prize for a preview and more Canadiens coverage.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 7:30 p.m. EST.