On the precipice of their first real road trip of the season—one that takes them to Seattle and Western Canada, and one on which they tend to do poorly—the New York Islanders host the Washington Capitals in need of a feel-good win. They have won only one of their last five games, but a win tonight would have everyone in good spirits before they ship off and perhaps fuel a better trip. A regulation win would also put the Isles back in front of Washington in the standings.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, the Islanders just shut out the Capitals last week in D.C. It can certainly be done. And Semyon Varlamov, who earned that clean slate against his former team, will be back between the pipes again tonight. But hopefully, the Caps aren’t spurred on by the shutout last week and are tired from last night.
FIG Picks go here. Happy birthday, J-G. How about your first goal of the season as a birthday present?
- A preview of tonight’s game from the team site.
- A preview of tonight’s game from Stefen Rosner.
- Pierre Engvall draws back into the lineup. He and coach Lane Lambert talked about the scratch.
Pierre Engvall on being a healthy scratch last game in Boston. "It's not my decision." Won't get into specifics but said he's on the same page as Lane Lambert and indicated it was purely a hockey-related decision (turnover vs. Wild that led to goal)— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 11, 2023
- Engvall’s scratch came on the Moms Trip, which makes it Lambert’s second benching of a player where something important was going on, the first being scratching Josh Bailey to prevent him from having his 1,000th game on home ice in front of the dozens of family and friends he invited. But Bailey was pretty clearly done at that point; Engvall just started a seven-year contract. So it’s not exactly the same. [NY Post]
- Oliver Wahlstrom comes out. Realistically, he shouldn’t be the first choice for a healthy scratch right now. Adam Pelech will also be out again, and Lambert said he is day-to-day.
- Anders Lee probably can’t be scratched as the captain, but he hasn’t been very good to start the season. Maybe I would scratch Matt Martin and drop Lee to the fourth line, but I don’t know what I’m doing. [The Athletic]
- Bo Horvat spoke about the upcoming return to Vancouver, where he may not receive the warmest reception.
Said Horvat, "I think some of them (the Vancouver fans) were pretty upset with what I said last year. I think they took it more personal than I wanted them to take it. It wasn't directed at them. I was just more upset of how everything went down last year." https://t.co/tDpSCVHaSt— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 11, 2023
- Is this the team we should expect to see, wonders Andrew Gross? These inconsistencies and third-period struggles. [Newsday]
- Ilya Sorokin has been good, but he hasn’t been world-beating good like he was last season, and that hasn’t helped (although that probably says more about the team in front of him that they need him to be world-beating to win, but I digress). [NY Post]
- In the latest Weird Islanders, Arthur Staple re-joins to talk about the trade of Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a bunch of darts, one of whom went on to become an excellent NHL forward. [LHH]
- Jack Campbell is eager to try to get back to the NHL after his stint in the AHL. [NHL]
- It’s Hall of Fame weekend. Henrik Lundqvist and Caroline Ouellette lead the goalie-heavy class. Pierre Turgeon is the important one, though. [Sportsnet]
- Ken Hitchcock is humbled by his induction. [NHL]
- The Pittsburgh Penguins are finally retiring Jaromir Jagr’s number 68. [NHL]
- Not long after the Calgary Flames lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, Calgary backender Nikita Zadorov requested a trade. Word is that Canadian teams like him. [Sportsnet]
- Debating which franchise should win, or who would be most interesting to win, the 2024 no. 1 overall pick and Macklin Celebrini. [DFO]