The New York Islanders are on the road for the last time this season. They'll take on the Washington Capitals in a home and home series.
While the Islanders aren't in the playoffs they still have something to play for; pride. They're currently on a five-game slide and losing big in those five games. And it's not like losing is helping their chances of drafting a top prospect.
So, again, all they have to play for is pride. A win in Washington could help this team get a nice little jolt as they see out the tail end of the season. Helping them in their effort is the possible return of Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
New York Islanders projected lines vs Washington Capitals
On Monday night, Otto Koivula was moved from the Islanders roster to the minors according to CapFriendly. Which could signal Jean-Gabriel Pageau's return from the NHL's COVID protocol list. Getting Pageau back is a huge boost for the Islanders.
Getting the center back restores a desperately needed balance to all four lines. And it also means that someone like Josh Bailey can see their load lightened. Bailey is a good player, but with Pageau's absence, Bailey was asked to do more in all three phases of the game (5on5, PP, PK), and at a certain point there are diminishing returns with Bailey. Asking him to do more doesn't exactly get you more.
I know that seeing CapFriendly's transaction Twitter bot say a move has been made doesn't always confirm a move has been made, but with Koivula no longer on the Islanders roster (per their website) it seems safe to assume the move did indeed take place. It's also been five days since Pageau was added to the COVID protocol, so he could be ready to come out by now.
Beauvillier is still out with a day-to-day injury at the time of writing. If* he's healthy enough to play we might see one of Wahlstrom or Bellows sit out for Beau. If I had to wager which of the two I'd put money on Wahlstrom sitting out.
*I can't see the team rushing Beau back to play meaningless games and potentially make his injury worse.
Assuming Pageau is back and Beau is still out here's what we might see with the lineup tonight.
Islanders Projected Lineup