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New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils [Game #4 thread]

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Which direction will the shutout pendulum swing?

NHL: New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils
All the colors the way nature intended.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time since the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils met, what with the pandemic and the Devils being kept out of the summer playoff bubble.

So the storyline heading into today was longtime Devil Andy Greene facing his old squad, about a year after he agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to Lou Lamoriello’s new new team.

Bailey Out

However, that’s the stuff of stories, nostalgia and emotion. The new story heading into tonight was the first time Covid affected Islanders lineup decisions: Josh Bailey is on the covid protocol list, which basically means he’s held out of practice and games due to potential or confirmed exposure to the virus.

Fingers crossed for his health.

In Bailey’s place, Barry Trotz said they had lots of options, like “A, B and C.” We know one of those options is not Kieffer Bellows, [gametime ed.: welp, strike that: lineup is same as it ever was, including Bailey], who was assigned to the taxi squad while Dmytro Timashov joined the team for practice. Oliver Wahlstrom is also a possibility, and Michael Dal Colle is “close” to returning from IR.

Semyon Varlamov, who is the first Islanders goaltender to start a season with two shutouts, is the certain starter in goal, barring another warmup mishap.

The Opposition

After a three-point night against the distasteful Rangers, Jack Hughes already has six points on the season. That may be a hint that he’s ready to make a big sophomore jump and could pose a greater threat to the Isles than he did last season.

Perhaps that’s true of the Devils, too. At least through three games they’ve yet to lose in regulation.

It’s a 7 p.m. start (which is about when we’ll learn the actual lineup) at the Coliseum, broadcast on the various MSG-plus’s. Enjoy!