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Islanders Three Players to Watch Against Florida Panthers

Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Islanders take the ice against the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 1 pm after losing their first game in eleven. Here’s three players you should keep your eyes on.

The Islanders take to the ice a few days after a rough 4-3 OT loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. After holding a 3-0 lead going into the third period, the Islanders completely melted away as the Penguins scored four unanswered goals to end the Isles ten-game win streak.

Against the Panthers, the Islanders have to show their coach, and the fans, that their third-period capitulation was nothing more than a fluke.

For their part, the Florida Panthers are going to try their best to keep the Islanders in the “L” column.

Here are three players to watch during this afternoon’s game.

C. . New York Islanders. . Casey Cizikas

As the Islanders deal with a number of injuries, Cizikas has stepped up to take the third line center role from Derick Brassard who’s playing wing on line two. And he’s delivered.

Cizikas is getting more ice-time and doing more with it. He’s averaging more than a minute of ice time from last season with 15:11 time on ice this season. Over his last two games, Cizikas has two goals and four points. He’s also picked up a 60.6 faceoff win percentage.

Even when Cizikas isn’t putting up points he’s contributing. His line routinely starts games for Barry Trotz and sets the tempo for the next 60 minutes. Their forechecking pressing game keeps attackers either in their own zone or on the outside of the attacking zone.

Mathew Barzal. C. . New York Islanders.

After an explosion of production over much of the Islanders ten-game winning streak, but over the last three games Barzal has only one point. A slight drop off like that is to be expected for any player.

They aren’t always going to score. But they’ll eventually get back to that form. Watch Barzal this afternoon against the Panthers, he’ll likely be at his best again.

G. . New York Islanders. . Thomas Greiss

Thomas Greiss’s numbers from last season were ridiculous. His 2.28 GAA was fourth-best in the NHL while his 0.927SV% was tied for the second-best in the league in 2018-19. We were all expecting some sort of regression this season. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, he’s even better.

Over his last five games, Greiss holds a 1.80GAA and a 0.940SV%. On the season he holds a 2.00GAA and a 0.937SV%. Those season stats have Greiss ranked fourth in goals-against average* and tied for first in save percentage*.

(* For goalies who’s played at least five games.)

Knowing you have that type of goaltending has to be a huge boost for the players in front of him.

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At the time of writing it wasn’t confirmed if Thomas Greiss gets the start but with the way Barry Trotz rotates his goalies, it’s easy to guess that Greiss gets the start. Every time Greiss gets in goal, the Islanders have a chance to win.

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