In Nashville tonight to face the Predators, the New York Islanders begin their four-game trip with another forced alteration to their fourth line.
Casey Cizikas is on IR with a skate laceration to his leg, with an expected timetable of 3-4 weeks. That makes this an ideal opportunity for Cole Bardreau to (re)impress the coaching staff and management. Barry Trotz was clear about what he expects:
“A guy like Cole, I expect him to kill penalties, I expect him to be great on draws and have energy every night and hard to play against. That’s it. If he does that for a long time, then I’m going to give him more. ... That’s my best advice to any young player that comes up, is to know what you are, do it well, do your role well and do it consistently at a peak performance and you’ll have success and you’ll get longevity in this league and that’s what you want in this league is longevity.”
Other than Bardreau for Cizikas, expect the lineup to be the same except for Thomas Greiss taking his turn in goal.
Weber on the Preds
As a warmup for the game, check out Noel and Dan’s latest episode of IslesBuzz, where they spoke with Predators radio voice Pete Weber about the up-and-down season in Nashville, where he expects this game and their weekend home-and-home with the Blues will be pivotal in how David Poile approaches the trade deadline.
Weber also talked about Matt Duchene, who has had a rotating cast of linemates — and recently been moved to Ryan Johansen’s wing — thus far in the Music City.
In the previous meeting in December, the Islanders suffered their ugliest loss of the season, leading 3-1 only to get blown out, 8-3.
Things look a little different now. Losers of their last two in regulation, the Predators begin the night five points and two teams behind the second wild card spot in the West. As Weber alluded to, it’s approaching make-or-break time for a team that came into the season with high expectations, but reaches Valentine’s Day with more “Did the window just close?” questions in the air.
Follow Predators news and coverage over at On The Forecheck.
Remember, this is in the Central Time zone, so 8 p.m. EST start on MSG+2 (twice the plus!).