Happy New Year! The Edmonton Oilers make their first visit to Belmont Park as the New York Islanders get to play their first game of 2022 before going on a 11-day gap due to a league-imposed postponement of the next four on the schedule.
Despite some remnant injuries (Ryan Pulock) and COVID Protocols (Brock Nelson) to key personnel, the team generally feels like it has been turning its “18-wheeler” in the right direction, and have points from eight of the last 10 games to show for it.
Mathew Barzal — who returned from COVID to have a first-star game — Kieffer Bellows, and Semyon Varlamov are among those who stepped up in Thursday’s win over the Sabres.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here before the 2 p.m. EST start.
- Official game preview for this afternoon. [Isles]
- Key potentially lineup-affecting news: Oliver Wahlstrom and Anthony Beauvillier have exited COVID Protocol, and practiced yesterday. [Isles]
- Today’s game is the first of 10 occasions when the Islanders will wear their third jerseys. [Isles]
- Steve closed 2021 for us with a nice collection of highlights from the year — it was a dour fall but man it was a fun spring! [LHH]
- And Noah Dobson closed December on a high note, hopefully reaching a new level. [Isles]
- As alluded above, the NHL postponed the Isles’ swing through western Canada and Seattle, due to attendance restrictions affecting those Canadian games, so we may be off a while. [LHH | Newsday | Post]
Bill Daly says via email that he does NOT anticipate that there will be additional games rescheduled between now and the Isles’ next game on Jan. 13, but “nothing is final in that regard.”— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) January 1, 2022
So, looks like another long break on the horizon after today’s game with the Oilers.
A few from the #Isles game notes— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 1, 2022
- Isles-Oilers haven't played since 10/8/19 - 817 days ago
- Just the eighth time Isles have played on New Year's Day, first since 2007
- Oilers PP 1st in NHL 29/93 (31.2%), even better on the road at 14/40 (35.0%)
Re-reading my gamer from last Oilers-#Isles game, a 5-2 EDM W at Coliseum on 10/8/19— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 1, 2022
- NHL debut of Noah Dobson
- James Neal had four goals, 2 PPG
- Varlamov pulled
“We gave them way too much space,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I think we were looking for an easy game."
Yesterday’s other NHL scores included Alex Ovechkin breaking the all-time power play goals record in the Capitals win over the Red Wings, and the Rangers collecting two points via shootout over the Lightning.
- The Oilers started the season 9-1-1 but have fallen back to earth since, with multiple issues. Among them: What should they do with Tyson Barrie? [Oilers Nation]
- Also on tap today: A freaking frozen Winter Classic as the Blues visit the Wild outdoors in Minnesota. [Sportsnet]
- Those two teams are excited...will they be as excited when their toes fall off at 7 p.m. tonight? [NHL]
- Boudreau Boost: Could the Canucks claw back into the playoff picture? [TSN]
- The NHL has Colin Campbell explain that the Canadian postponements are “for the fans.” [Sportsnet]
- The Flyers will be without Sean Couturier, week to week. [TSN]