The New York Islanders are playing what may have deemed the real home opener as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the now gloriously sponsored NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the first time since 2015. The atmosphere should be electric and the crowd should be close to sold out as the team returns to what many affectionately referred to as “the barn.” The Islanders didn’t have a ton of success at Barclays Center on the ice and never really drew in a ton of fans into their new not-built-for-hockey arena.
For the likes of Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, and Thomas Hickey, this game is also about revenge. The Islanders played the Blue Jackets in the last regular season home game in a shootout and wound up losing home ice as a result. The Blue Jackets were a much worse team back then and that loss really stung - It would have been the first home ice advantage the Islanders had in the playoffs since 1987 and they’ve yet to get home ice since then.
Thomas Greiss is projected to start tonight. He was on the hook for three goals in 23 shots during the his last contest with all three goals against coming in high danger situations. The Islanders defense was a wee bit lackluster and their special teams failed them more than Greiss did. His five-on-five delta save percentage fell from +2.00 to +1.99. He’s had four days of rest and should be plenty fresh coming into this one.
No changes will be made to the lineup tonight. Game time is at 7:00 P.M. E.S.T.