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Islanders vs. Flames Preview/Game Thread: Outsiders breaking in

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Two teams, not highly regarded, clash claiming once unlikely wild card bids

Calgary Flames v New York Islanders
Back with more karate tips for all you kids out there.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames (35-26-4, 74 points) have won six games in a row to hold a wild card spot in the West by a seven-point cushion above the first outsider.

The New York Islanders (30-22-11, 71 points) have cooled off a bit since their rebirth when Doug Weight took over as interim head coach, but they’re still 6-3-1 in their last 10 to hold the East’s final wild card spot by a single point over the idle Maple Leafs.

So, this afternoon’s meeting in Calgary poses higher stakes than many would’ve expected a couple of months ago, or back when they met in late November, a 2-1 overtime win for the Isles in Brooklyn.

Lineup News

The overtime hero in that last meeting, Thomas Hickey returns to the lineup in his hometown after a one-game scratch. But the man he’s replacing is for injury reasons, not strategic: Johnny Boychuk, who took another blow to the leg/ankle Friday in Chicago, will sit.

With that, Scott Mayfield comes in for Adam Pelech. That leaves pairings like this:

Leddy - Mayfield
Hickey - Hamonic
de Haan - Seidenberg

Otherwise, it’s Thomas Greiss in goal again with the same forwards:

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd -- Brock Nelson -- Joshua Ho-Sang
Shane Prince -- Ryan Strome -- Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Cal Clutterbuck

Coverage

This one is a little daytime tele for MSG+, plus radio coverage on AM970, 88.7FM, and 103.9FM.

Check Flames coverage and lineups at Matchsticks & Gasoline, where our HockeyGoalieEh has his twice-yearly agony as his two teams clash.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is {double checks schedule} yep, 4 p.m. EST.