The Islanders approach the halfway point in the season with their back-to-back in Alberta, starting with tonight in Edmonton.
It sounds like they’ll have one injured forward back, Cal Clutterbuck:
Lane Lambert says Cal Clutterbuck a game time decision. But Ross Johnston remains on ice along with Kyle Palmieri and Robin Salo being skated hard as extras. So, yeah, plan if for Clutterbuck to play.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 5, 2023
My expectation for #Isles lineup at #Oilers tonight (no lines run during morning skate)— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 5, 2023
If that projection from Andrew Gross comes true, Ross Johnston would drop back out of the lineup. Put that sweet Martin-to-Johnston-to-Raty combo from last game in your memory drawer.
The other game-related note from Gross after the morning skate was the interpretation of Ilya Sorokin getting the start. That probably makes the most sense. With Semyon Varlamov ready to return, don’t risk him coming back to face the frightening Oilers power play — top of the league, converting at 32% — and all of the groin-stressing, up-and-down, side-to-side movements that would require.
Put the acrobatic Sorokin in and let Varly take tomorrow in Calgary for his return to play.
The Oilers, who are on an embarrassing run of form at home, will reportedly give former late-first-round pick Klim Kostin a shot on Connor McDavid’s wing. A former pick of the Blues who was often blocked by their Cup-winning lineup, Klostin’s career has been one of stops and abridged starts. But he appeared quietly effective in bottom-six role during the match on Long Island earlier this season. Now he’ll be looking for backdoor tap-ins to make Isles fans say, “Who?!”