The New York Islanders are in Florida with their last chance to salvage points from this three-game swing that closes out the epic season-opening 13 games on the road.
It sounded like the Islanders might lean toward the same lineup — Sebastian Aho in for Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows in — but that depended in part on how Casey Cizikas was feeling after sitting out a practice, a morning skate, and last night’s game in Tampa. Ilya Sorokin will presumably start after Semyon Varlamov played last night.
Barry Trotz again lamented the missed details from his squad in Monday’s loss to the Lightning. He had nice things to say about Aho and forgave him for having a little bit of rust after playing fewer games than birthdays in the last year. He also talked about his former player Andrew Brunette, who is now behind the bench for the Panthers.
In assessing the effect of this season-opening road saga, Trotz said, “We haven’t had a lot of rhythm.” Sent home, back on the road, slumps, power play dry, “guys may be a little out of sorts,” etc.:
Trotz Pregame Availability pic.twitter.com/LL1aVR2Em8— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) November 16, 2021
What’s tough is that probably doesn’t change too much once they finally open UBS Arena on Saturday. It’s a new home, new facilities, new commute, new, new, new-new-new. There will be continuing adjustments before any of this feels routine, all while playing a more compressed schedule and trying to dig out of the divisional basement.
Meanwhile, their opponent (check out Panthers frivolity at Litter Box Cats) is rested and at home after a winless four-game road trip that put a little dent in their 10-0-1 start to the season. That included a spanking of the Islanders on the opening weekend, so the Isles have some payback to exact.
Here’s hoping they can do it. As a reminder, this game is exclusively on ESPN+/Hulu.