New York Rangers are back on Long Island to face the New York Islanders. While the Isles aren't in the playoffs they're still going to play this game like they're still in the race for a place.
First step, who plays tonight? Specifically in nets. With Semyon Varlamov now healthy he has to play against the Rangers, no?
New York Islanders lineup against New York Rangers
That's not a shot at Ilya Sorokin. He's been excellent this year. Sorokin has given the Isles a chance to win every time he steps on the ice. But he's played the last five games straight including games on back-to-back nights a week ago. He can use a rest.
And what better time than against the Rangers, who Varlamov, with all due respect to the Dolan, owns.
Since 2020-21, Varlamov holds a 6-2-0 record while averaging a 1.00GAA and 0.962SV% against the Rangers. Oh and five shutouts. The last time out (April 1), Varlamov stopped all 27 shots he faced as the Isles took the game 3-0. Giving him the start tonight after missing a few games with a stomach bug makes sense.
Now it's what to do with the rest of the lineup? The last time the Isles played the Rangers, Trotz opted for this lineup:
Does he ice the same team today? He certainly could the only question mark is on Oliver Wahlstrom. Will the young forward find his way back into the team? Kieffer Bellows is playing relatively well of late even if he's getting limited time on the ice.
In his last three games, Bellows has two (secondary) assists three shots on net, and 14 hits while averaging 11:55 of ice time. I think Bellows stays in.
Here's my projected Islanders lineup: