It’s a New Year for the New York Islanders who’ll take on the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders are a point out of a playoff spot as they trail the Montreal Canadiens by a point for the final wild card spot with the Buffalo Sabres two points ahead. The Canadiens take on the Vancouver Canucks later tonight while the Sabres already lead two to nothing against the Florida Panthers, so it looks like a win will be required to keep pace.
Leo Komarov is going to be at centre for the first time this season thanks to an injury to Valtteri Filppula. He’ll be between Michael Dal Colle and Tom Kuhnhackl on a third line that is not very pretty looking. They may need extra contributions to other lines to offset what the third line puts out tonight.
Robin Lehner is in net tonight. Lehner has played four fewer games than Thomas Greiss on the season and trails him in delta save percentage by .2 in five on five situations, but has been the hot hand. None of this is as controversial as neither of them being named to the All-Star team.
Game time is at 7:30 P.M. E.S.T. and will be nationally televised on NBC Sports. Oh boy.