The New York Islanders are in Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. A team that is four points up on the Isles in the Eastern Conference. While the Isles won't get an actual four points from a win today this is without a doubt a four-point game.
The Isles still have two games in hand on the Blue Jackets. Today's game obviously won't reduce that advantage for the Isles. So a win gets the Islanders two points closer and still have a possible four points in the chamber.
So, ahead of tonight's game lets look at the projected lineup from the forwards to the guy in net.
New York Islanders project lines against Columbus
It seems that the New York Islanders will make two changes from the team that lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning and will also keep one change they made in that last game.
Sebastian Aho still isn't 100% so he'll stay out of the lineup again, meaning that Grant Hutton (recently called up from Bridgeport) will stay in the lineup for his seventh career NHL game. Expect Hutton to stay with Andy Greene on the third pair. A spot that Hutton did very well with in his last outing.
Based on the pre-game skate it seems like Ross Johnston will step out and Kieffer Bellows will step in. Johnston was...fine against Tampa. He was as advertised and tried to pull his team into the game with his physicality but it just didn't work. Kieffer Bellows will try to do the same by using his offensive abilities instead.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start for the Islanders with Sorokin out day-to-day. Sorokin stayed back on Long Island for the Isles. Taking up the backups bench is Cory Schneider. The veteran keeper has been doing very well for the Bridgeport Islanders of late.
Schneider doesn't have a sub-.900 save percentage since January 22. In his last 10 starts he's stopped 331 of 353 shots, a 0.938SV% and 2.2GAA. He won't get a start unless he has to but know that he's making the jump up to the squad in a great run of form.