The Islanders are home to the lowly (but rested) Columbus Blue Jackets and it sounds like they’re expecting a packed, raucous, holiday-season crowd.
At 20-14-2, the Isles are part of a Group of Death pack in the Metro, so every point is important and every chance to bank two against downtrodden competition is essential.
Alas, the Isles have not been too thorough in that department, and a loss tonight would add to a first-half narrative of missed opportunities against lower-standings teams. Almost as impressive as the Blue Jackets’ 10-21-2 record is their minus-46 goal differential, third-worst in the league.
The Blue Jackets have Son Of Sillinger back from IR, so he’ll probably score, but they are without Patrik Laine (COVID protocol). Hopefully the fans in Elmont boo Johnny Gaudreau, just for the absurd humor of it all.
Meanwhile, looking ahead, the Isles today were uncharacteristically up-front, days in advance, about who is accompanying them on the road trip that kicks off 2023 in Seattle:
#Isles Player update: Simon Holmstrom, Adam Pelech and Oliver Wahlstrom will not travel with the team tomorrow. Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Palmieri and Semyon Varlamov will travel with the team.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 29, 2022
So that’s Holmstrom, Pelech and Wahlstrom still out long(ish) term, while there’s good hope for Palmieri, Clutterbuck and Varlamov soon.