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Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Lines/Game Thread: Vengeance needed

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Cizikas returns, and the bottom nine get a new look.

NHL: New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets
Anything better than 7-0 is progress!
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders host the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday afternoon with a need to get back on a winning track to keep pace in the wild card chase.

They’ll do it with a new look to their bottom three lines, thanks to Casey Cizikas returning from IR and giving them options.

Among those options? Cizikas is back in his familiar fourth line, except on wing, with Ryan Strome centering — at least according to the initial lines for today as reported by Arthur Staple of Newsday.

According to those tweets, Anthony Beauvillier also returns to the lineup, at center, bumping Alan Quine.

No doubt part of these moves are to try to match the deep forward crew from Columbus.

For the Blue Jackets, the stakes are similarly high: They’ve no concerns about making the playoffs, but they are in a three-way fight for the top of the Metro, a spot that would get them a first-round match with the second wild card winner rather than a death-match against whichever other of Pittsburgh and Washington doesn’t take that spot.

Lineup News

So in addition to the above mentioned changes, Stephen Gionta drops from the lineup to make room for Cizikas, and Thomas Hickey will sit for Scott Mayfield.

There at least is no indication that something’s ailing Hickey. If not, it seems counterproductive to prepare for the Jackets by employing both Mayfield and Adam Pelech in instead of Hickey. The former two are more physical, sure, but Hickey’s a better puck mover and more than holds his own with physical play.

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

Thomas Greiss is in goal.

The Blue Jackets appear set to start Joonas Korpisalo in goal, and Scott Harrington in for Markus Nutivaara on defense.

Korpisalo was the shutout goalie during the 7-0 embarrassment three weeks ago.

Interim coach Doug Weight relished the chance for another actual full practice, just their fourth in 20 days, to address some structure things and set the tone for the final 12 games. Some interesting quotes there, as always from Weight, in the Newsday pre-gamer.

Coverage

This one is on MSG+ as well as NHL Network in the U.S. Radio outlets are AM970 - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, and 103.9FM - LI News.

Check the Jackets Cannon for CBJ coverage on SB Nation.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by 1 p.m. EDT.