After a gut-wrenching regulation loss to their chief wild card combatants at home on Saturday night, the New York Islanders face a tougher task in the same venue Monday.
Now 6-1-2 in their past nine, the Predators begin a two-game road trip tonight in Brooklyn. (The Isles will want to beat them, but not rough them up: The Preds next play tomorrow night in Boston, which holds the spot the Isles covet, leading Peter Lavioliette to call this “the toughest road trip of the season.”)
The Isles need this to make up the two-point deficit with the Bruins and, well, this is their game in hand to cash in. To add intrigue and schedule oddity to the matter, the Isles and Predators will meet again a week from tomorrow in Nashville.
Several changes are in store for the Islanders, who sound like they will bump Joshua Ho-Sang up to the first unit of a struggling power play that went 0-for-6 against the Bruins.
At forward, Alan Quine is back in for Shane Prince, who looked like he may be banged up again after the 2-1 loss to the Bruins. On defense, Thomas Hickey slots back in for Scott Mayfield.
Thomas Greiss starts in goal.
For Islanders, Quine in for Prince, Hickey for Mayfield. Greiss starts. Kulemin out again. Unlikely Thurs too. Boychuk close. Maybe Thurs.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) March 27, 2017
Doug Weight hopes to have Johnny Boychuk back by the end of this week, but he has been optimistic on injuries before. His updated expectation for Nikolay Kulemin is “not two-to-three weeks” but probably not until the end of this week at minimum.
The Predators are without Mike Fisher, who they say is having a “bounce back” season, but no matter: they’ve scored 13 goals in their last three games, with young center Colton Sissons (never to be confused with Scott Scissons. Never.) shining.
Expect Pekka Rinne in goal.
For Isles broadacasts, this is on MSG+, with radio coverage on 660AM, 101.9FM - WFAN and 88.7FM - WRHU.
Check out On The Forecheck for Predators coverage on SB Nation.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 7 p.m. EDT.