The New York Islanders are on the road for their first of two five-game road trips on their 2021 schedule. Tonight the Islanders are facing off against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
After tonight’s game, the Islanders are headed to Washington for a two-game set against the Capitals then they will finish the road trip with two games in the city of Brotherly Love against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Last time out, on Thursday evening, the Islanders were led by their powerplay and skated to a 4-1 victory over the Devils at the Coliseum. Thursday was the Devils’ first regulation loss of the young season.
Tonight the New York Islanders have a chance to take eight of the first ten points available on the season
This game will also be a special homecoming for Islanders veteran defenseman, Andy Greene. This will be Greene’s first game back in New Jersey after being traded to the Islanders last year. Before coming to Long Island, Greene played his whole career, which spanned 13 and a half seasons, with the Devils.
Tale of the Tape
The Islanders come into today as the favorites, courtesy of the Action network.
Even though the Islanders won Thursday’s game by three goals, the game was much closer than the scoreline indicated. The teams traded chances and the Devils controlled the game in the second period and the Islanders played extremely well defensively.
Expect today to be another hard fought battle between the sides. The Islanders will be looking to start their road trip off on the right foot, while the Devils will be trying to avenge Thursday’s loss to the Isles.
The Islanders have kept the same lineup for all of their four games so far this season and all indications point to the Isles keeping the same lineup for the Sunday night game after their win on Thursday.
The only change that we could see is Oliver Wahlstrom coming in for Kieffer Bellows. Wahlstrom featured on a line with Ross Johnston and Jean-Gabriel Pageau yesterday at practice. The same thing happened with Michael Dal Colle before the last game and everyone thought he would play, but Barry Trotz stuck with the same 18 skaters.
Therefore, there is a good shot that Trotz will stick with the same lines as the first four contests tonight in Newark.
Semyon Varlamov is projected to get the start in goal after his shutout streak was snapped in the last game. Varlamov currently has a 3-0-0 record with a 0.33 goals-against average and a .988 save percentage.
The Islanders are projected to lineup like this:
The Devils are only projected to make one change to their team that lost in game one against the Islanders.
As shown in the tweet below, Nick Merkley will be making his first appearance of the season and is projected to replace Janne Kuokkanen on the fourth line.
Top forward, Nico Hischier is still recovering from his pre-training camp injury and will miss out on the game.
The Devils have not made any changes to their defensive pairings in practice and they are expected to be the same tonight as Thursday’s game.
As of now, Mackenzie Blackwood looks to still be out for tonight after being put on the NHL covid protocol list right before Thursday’s matchup. Scott Wedgewood is expected to get the start, while Eric Comrie, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets, is projected to be his backup.
The Devils are expected to lineup like this:
Where to Catch the Game
TV: MSG+ (Devils Telecast), MSG+2 (Islanders Telecast), MSG GO
Radio: 88.7FM 103.9FM
Today in the East Division
There are two other games, besides the Islanders Devils game, today around the East Division. At 3:00 p.m. the Sabres and Capitals will be facing off and at 7:00 p.m. the Rangers will be matching up against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
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*All Stats Provided by the NHL*