The Islanders and Flames have a trivial history of openers, what with both franchises entering the league together in 1972 and beginning with a 3-2 Atlanta Flames victory at Nassau Coliseum.
Last season the Flames were again the guest of honor as the Islanders opened their second “permanent” home (not sure how to categorize Brooklyn, in retrospect), but Calgary spoiled the party by taking advantage of a Covid-ravaged Isles lineup that was returning from a long road trip that opened a season soon to fall into disarray.
So tonight in Elmont is a chance for a do-over of sorts. The Isles have a different coach but mostly the same lineup. The Flames have the same coach but have swapped out a pair of stars, though not by choice.
The Isles check in reportedly healthy and with Ilya Sorokin getting the “first goalie off” label from the morning skate.
As a reminder, the Flames now have Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazim Kadri, not Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. They are also reeling. They arrive having lost four in a row (well, one in 3-on-3 OT after a regulation tie) and with injuries to the blueline including Chris Tanev, Michael Stone, and Oliver “it’s pronounced Czuczman“ Kylington.
Enjoy the game, a half hour earlier than usual at 7:00.