The New York Islanders two game road trip concludes tonight as they take on the Florida Panthers. The Islanders are coming off of a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning where they thoroughly outplayed their opponents, but a late defensive miscue coupled with a bad goal let up by Robin Lehner along with another that arguably should have been stopped resulted in a three to two loss. If they limit the mistakes in this one, they should be able to handle a Florida team that has the fewest wins in the NHL.
It’s Bill Torrey night in south Florida. The Islanders have added bow-tie decals to their helmets as the two teams pay their respects to the gentleman who acquired the talent needed for the Islanders to win four straight Stanley Cups and the Florida Panthers to get to the Stanley Cup Finals quicker than any expansion team up until the Vegas Golden Knights. Torrey is arguably the most brilliant general manager in league history and has his name in the rafters of Barclays Center, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the BB&T Center. Torrey passed away on May second earlier this year.
The Islanders will face future hall-of-fame goalie and guy-they-shouldn’t-have-traded in Roberto Luongo tonight. Robin Lehner is expected to start for the Islanders as he didn’t participate in morning practices today, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. If Lehner does start, he will have to play better than he did against Tampa Bay to hold off Thomas Greiss who has been one of the best goalies in the league to this point.
The line Blender has been activated for this one. Mathew Barzal was practicing between Anders Lee and Josh Bailey in what could be an attempt to get Barzal going or a demotion for Nelson (Barry Trotz took issue with Nelson leaving the zone during Ryan Pulock’s failed clearing attempt which lead to the loss against the Lightning). Nelson is now in between Tom Kuhnhackl and Jordan Eberle while Anthony Beauvillier was demoted to the fourth line in Matt Martin’s typical spot. The third line will remain the same.
Providence Bruins at Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Meanwhile the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are at home versus the Providence Bruins. The Sound Tigers are riding a three game winning and find themselves in a playoff spot. Some of the prospects have really flourished this season including Joshua Ho-Sang (14 points in thirteen games), Devon Toews (12 points in 13 games), and Michael Dal Colle (14 points in 11 games).
Providence is not exactly a staunch defensive team as teams have been averaging 3.23 goals against per 60 minutes, but much of that is on Zane McIntyre who has the AHL’s worst save percentage at .826. The Sound Tigers are actually a bit worse than that with 3.66 goals against per 60 minutes, but their both goalies have been horrible - Jeremy Smith is sporting a save percentage of .893 percent while Christopher Gibson is the third worst goalie in the league at .854 percent. McIntyre is probably starting tonight for Providence as Dan Vladar was recalled thanks to Tuukka Rask’s absence.
Both games are at 7:00 P.M. E.S.T.