The NY Islanders (5-2-3) will host the Minnesota Wild (4-5-2) tonight at UBS Arena. The Islanders, coming off a week that included two frustrating overtime losses, are looking to continue accruing points, while the scuffling Wild will look to continue building momentum after their shootout win over the Rangers on Saturday. Of course, the Wild had lost 6 of their previous 7 games before the win over the Rangers, so the Wild desperately need to earn some points, making them a desperate opponent that the Isles cannot afford to overlook.
One thing to watch for the Isles is injuries. They are starting to pile up! Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield are banged up, although both are expected to play tonight. Meanwhile, Bo Horvat is not at practice as of Tuesday morning. Horvat's absence would come just as he's starting to emerge offensively, so that's something to watch for as we get closer to game time.
The Islanders blew a 3-0 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime to the division-rival Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. While the Islanders continue to rack up points and are off to a respectable 5-2-3 start, this early tendency to blow leads is becoming concerning, and tonight is the first step toward fixing this before it becomes a legitimate problem. Noah Dobson, Mathew Barzal, and Simon Holmstrom scored for the Isles, and Ilya Sorokin had 44 saves in the losing effort.
The Wild are 18-11-2 against the Isles all-time and have won the last four contests between the two teams. Last season, the Wild beat the Isles 2-1 in a shootout in February after scoring three unanswered in the third to beat the Islanders 3-1 at UBS Arena a month earlier. The Isles will hopefully reverse this trend tonight, which seems plausible after Minnesota has gotten off to a rocky start this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
NYI: Ryan Pulock. With Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield banged up, Ryan Pulock is the veteran leader of this defense corps that has recently begun blowing leads at a concerning rate. Pulock and Alexander Romanov have been a great pair, and for however long Pelech is banged up (even if he's in the lineup), Pulock-Romanov will be the top pairing. Pulock needs to be at his best while the rest of the guys recover.
MIN: Marco Rossi. The Minnesota Wild have been looking for a number one center for seemingly forever. While they are certainly not alone with that goal, they seem to have finally struck gold. Marco Rossi- drafted 9th overall in the 2020 Draft by the Wild- has emerged this season as the potential answer, with five goals in 11 games to start the season and most encouragingly, more than 20 minutes of TOI in each of the last two games. Rossi continuing to develop into the number one center of the present and future for the Wild would be an extremely welcome development, and he will continue to be given the opportunity to fill that role in Minnesota.
Anders Lee- Bo Horvat*- Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall- Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom- JG Pageau- Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech- Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov- Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho- Scott Mayfield
Kirill Kaprizov- Marco Rossi- Matt Boldy
Marcus Johansson- Ryan Hartman- Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno- Joel Eriksson Ek- Patrick Maroon
Brandon Duhaime- Connor Dewar- Vinni Lettieri
Jonas Brodin- Brock Faber
Jacob Middleton- Dakota Mermis
Daemon Hunt- Calen Addison
Lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff.