The New York Islanders host the Nashville Predators for their home opener Saturday in Brooklyn.
Game time is 7 p.m. EDT. Leave your First Islanders Goal (FIG) picks here by 6:59.
Coverage: MSG+ and MSG GO, with live audio on 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News and at Radio.com
The Predators are continuing their season-opening sweep through New York after
Thomas Greiss will start again for the Isles, while the Predators will use Juuse Saros, who can look better than starter Pekka Rinne at times.
It’s a meeting of coaches against their former teams: Peter Laviolette, who has gone to Stanley Cup finals with three separate franchises since getting a premature axe from the Island, and Barry Trotz, in his second game behind the Islanders bench after a generation as the founding coach in Nashville and a brief stint in Washington that ended with a Stanley Cup last spring.
But...it’s more than that, really. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Trotz is rightly considered royalty in Nashville, as he should be. He was hired a year before the team started play, and he helped build them from the ground up on through some lean, low-talent, low-budget years. This quote is worth archiving:
“I was there a long time and still consider Nashville my home. I spent so much time there. Probably that was the one place I’ve spent more than any other place I’ve ever lived, even my hometown. I have so many good friends and so many good memories. I was a part of something that you only get one chance to do - expansion. I was on the inside, I was picking carpet colors and figuring out where people [families] were sitting, designing dressing rooms, scouting players. I had that luxury that one year. I got hired the year before and [GM] David [Poile] kept me on the inside in all that. I got the best hockey education…Expansion was a little different then compared to now. You had to struggle and to see that city… you didn’t know if you were going to make it, but now you see the fanbase and what they’ve been able to do and the culture they’ve created and you were a part of that.
The greatest pleasure I have in Nashville is that you’re apart of something and that when I take my grandkids to a game in Nashville or on the road, [to know] that I was a part of that success that helped grow some roots because it wasn’t easy back then.”
The Isles are expected to dress the exact lineup from their opening-night OT win in Raleigh.
Anthony Beauvillier - Mathew Barzal - Josh Bailey
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Jordan Eberle
Leo Komarov - Valtteri Filppula - Tanner Fritz
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Thomas Hickey - Nick Leddy
Luca Sbisa - Johnny Boychuk
Scratches: Ross Johnston, Scott Mayfield, Tom Kuhnhackl
Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith
Colton Sissons -- Nick Bonino -- Ryan Hartman
Kevin Fiala -- Frederick Gaudreau -- Zac Rinaldo
Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban
Anthony Bitetto -- Yannick Weber