The New York Islanders are back from a weird bye week that wasn’t actually a bye week and are set to take to the road against the Nashville Predators for the second and final meeting this season. The Islanders lone loss this season was last week’s game against game against the Predators, but they come into this game with a 2-1-0 record and plenty of rest - they last played on Monday and defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of four to nothing. A loss here tonight would make the Islanders the first team to get swept of this young NHL season.
There will be changes to the lineup tonight as Casey Cizikas has been placed on the injured reserve. He’s getting replaced by newly-signed Stephen Gionta who is not getting any younger and failed to appear in any NHL games last season. It’s a peculiar decision given that Barry Trotz was impressed with Tanner Fritz and that they stated that he should be back up with the club shortly. All of these veteran contracts make promoting youth that much harder as there’s no room to send anybody down to Bridgeport - the only way they can generate additional spots is through creative roster management which involve declaring a player as injured.
Andrew Ladd is returning from his trip to the injured reserve and he’ll fill in for Tom Kuhnhackl. Ladd had good advanced stats, but failed to produce offensively and drew the ire of plenty of fans. He’s not getting any younger and people ripped that contract from the start, but hopefully he can rebound and provide the Islanders a spark.
Robin Lehner gets the start tonight after his shutout over the Sharks on Monday. He’s up against last week’s opponent in Juuse Saros. Saros has been one of the NHL’s most underrated goalies the past few seasons, but he did not play particularly well against the Islanders last week.
Puck drop is at 8:00 P.M. E.S.T.