The New York Islanders will be taking on the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Sunday and in the team’s final preseason battle. It will be each players’ final shot in a game situation to show that they belong in the NHL.
However, the fact that there is only one game left does not mean that the coaches have an easier job of making cuts. It was announced that youngsters Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech and Kevin Czuczman were recalled from Bridgeport on Sunday morning and they will likely all be playing in this game for the Islanders. This just adds even more intrigue to the hotly contested final couple of available spots on defence. After the likes of locks Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Harmonic and Calvin de Haan, there are two or three spots up for grabs. With Thomas Hickey out for about a month, it will be between Brian Strait, Ryan Pulock, Marek Zidlicky and the three recent callups. PTO forward Eric Boulton even played a little defence during scrimmage at times.
Arthur Staple of Newsday recently tweeted the Islanders lineups:
Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Ryan Strome
With Tavares off and Okposo playing on the second line, it is interesting to see Barzal and Strome take their places. Both had good training camps. Barzal could really run away with a job if he shows off some chemistry with these guys.
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Of course all three will make the team, coach Capuano may just be experimenting to see how well Okposo meshes with these guys.
Brock Nelson – Mikhail Grabovski – Kirill Petrov
If Petrov makes the team, he could fit in with Grabo. On paper this line could be deadly if it works.
Eric Boulton – Casey Cizikas – Steve Bernier
Watch for Boulton and Bernier give it everything they’ve got tonight. Could be a couple fights. Another thing to watch is how Cizikas plays with guys other than Martin or Clutterbuck.
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Adam Pelech – Scott Mayfield
Two recent callups who put their hats back in the ring for one of those final defence spots.
Kevin Czuczman – Ryan Pulock
Pulock is considered a favorite to make the Islanders, but will be interesting to see if Czuczman can play well with him.
Brian Strait – Marek Zidlicky
An interesting pair who need to have a good game to make the team.
Thomas Greiss – Stephon Williams
While Halak is day-to-day, Williams will back up Greiss. Although he has a very low chance of making the team, Williams gained some experience this training camp and is seen as a future backup for this team.