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New York Islanders vs. San Jose Sharks: Some regulars return [Game #18]

The Isles return from the COVID pause with some regulars back but a still very unfamiliar lineup.

San Jose Sharks v New York Islanders
Probably shouldn’t let them outnumber us.
Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Anders Lee is back. Josh Bailey is back. Adam Pelech is back. Andy Greene is back. Ross Johnston is available.

That’s a lot of regulars! But...Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson (injuries, not COVID) are still out. So are protocolers Casey Cizikas, Zdeno Chara, and Kieffer Bellows, to name a few — though Bellows has cleared protocol and Chara has skated.

Meanwhile, the Islanders reassigned Richard Panik — one of the callups who looked kind of effective, but who is relatively costly cap-wise — Thomas Hickey (also costly), and Paul LaDue to AHL Bridgeport.

All of that makes for a still-odd lineup tonight as the Islanders face the San Jose Sharks in their return from a league-mandated (finally) COVID postponement of their prior two scheduled games.

So, expect Otto Koivula and Andy Andreoff up front, and Robin Salo and Grant Hutton and/or Sebastian Aho to still feature. Still winless in the new arena at Belmont, tonight begins what they hope is a long and steady road back to 2020-21 relevance.

The Sharks come in having won the first two games of their road trip, including two nights ago in Newark. They were widely expected to be terrible this year but are off to a decent 12-9-1 start — “decent,” of course, being an envious position from the 5-10-2 Isles’ perspective.

Check out Sharks coverage at Fear the Fin.

Joe for Butch

Evidently Buth Goring had shoulder surgery! So don’t be shocked when you hear Joe Micheletti’s voice on the MSG broadcast in his stead. Micheletti, of course, used to do Isles color commentary long ago, back before he was shifted and contracted a permanent case of Ranger-itis.