The New York Islanders hope to continue their current run of form as they head to the Prudential Center to face the struggling New Jersey Devils. Over the Devils' last 10 games they've gone 3-6-1 with a -16 goal differential.
The Devils might not be good, but their youthful squad is still quite dangerous. The Devils have three guys that sit at or above a point-per-game in those last ten games; Jack Hughes has 12 points in 10 games, Nico Hischier has 11 points over nine games, and Jesper Bratt is at a cool ten for ten.
Speed and a strong transition game is the Devils' game plan, so can the Islanders lineup deal with that in this afternoon puck drop?
New York Islanders lines: Does Kieffer Bellows step in?
It's hard to see the Islanders making a change to the lineup for today's game. They're running at 7-3-0 over their last ten games. No team in the Metro is in a better run of form than the Isles. The Rangers are level with the Isles at 7-3-0.
So, again, the Islanders probably don't change much of anything when it comes to the lineup today. But one position that could be up for debate is that fourth-line right-wing spot*.
*Assuming there are no last-minute injuries of course.
Since Cal Clutterbuck's season-ending injury that spot has alternated between Ross Johnston and Kieffer Bellows. Recently I wrote that Ross Johnston should continue in that spot through the rest of the season. And I maintain that. But I don't make the lineup.
With the Devils' speedy lineup, it's entirely possible that Barry Trotz opts to put Bellows in Cal's spot next to Cizikas and Matt Martin and keep the big tough Ross Johnston in the press box for this one.
At the time of writing the Isles haven't made any roster moves. That means Grant Hutton (in for Scott Mayfield) is still likely in the lineup as is Cory Schneider (in for Ilya Sorokin). Mayfield is expected to miss most of what's left on the year while Ilya Sorokin still isn't 100%.
There's no doubt that Hutton will play and that Schneider will remain on the bench as the back up.
Islanders Projected Lineup: