A week after opening the regular season, the Islanders will play their first game on the road when they pay a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina’s PNC Arena. Last time they were there, their 2018-19 season ended.
A guy who played in that game, Tom Kuhnhackl, is making his season debut tonight. Much like the second round series last year against the Hurricanes, Kuhnhackl looks, to the bewilderment of most, to be in the top six forward group:
Lee-Barzal-Eberle— Brendan Burke (@brendanmburke) October 11, 2019
You’ll note, too, that it appears we’re getting the return of Leo Komarov, NHL Center™. That’s only if Casey Cizikas can’t go, presumably; if he can, my educated guess is that Komarov goes back to third line wing and Michael Dal Colle takes a seat.
On defense, it looks like Noah Dobson will stay in the lineup, more than likely to give Nick Leddy’s nagging and undisclosed injury some relief:
If Nick Leddy isn't able to play, right-shooting Noah Dobson will slide over to the left, likely paired with righty Johnny Boychuk. Dobson played on his off-side in juniors. Barry Trotz said he's comfortable on his off-side, more so than some of his #Isles veteran.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) October 11, 2019
If Leddy can go, not sure whether that means Dobson or Boychuk comes out.
Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes, as he often is in Carolina. Did you know he lives there in the offseason? I mention this every time? Well, that’s not the only reason he always plays there. You may remember he started the season opener in Carolina last season, stopping somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 shots en route to a stolen victory. With the way Carolina has played to start the season, he may need to do that again.
Last chance for FIGs. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m., so get your picks in before then. It’s almost certainly going to be Kuhnhackl (Unassisted).