It's a New York Islanders game day! Finally! Islanders players and fans have waited 12 days to get back to the ice. Twelve days without a game right in the middle of the season! It's actually even worse than that.
The Isles have played three games since December 19. That's three games in, essentially, a month. Typically, an NHL team will play three times per week. This break has felt long because it has been.
Today, they get set to face the Devils. So what should we know about the matchup?
New York Islanders vs Devils: Everything you need to know
First things first; COVID. We have to talk about the impact of COVID on the two teams. Because it's going to have a massive impact on this game. Here's the list of who's out on the NHL's COVID Protocol List (at the time of writing) for both teams:
New York Islanders: Ryan Pulock (COVID and Injury), Barry Trotz
New Jersey Devils: Mackenzie Blackwood, Akira Schmid, Janne Kuokkanen, Damon Severson, Jesper Bratt, Nathan Bastian, Dougie Hamilton, Mason Geersten
That's a lot of regular out of the lineup for the Devils. Specifically between the pipes. Jon Gillies will get the start for the Devils tonight.
There aren't nearly as many missing players for the Islanders. The only player in COVID protocol was one that was already out due to injury. So, for the first time in a long time, the Isles will be icing a squad at nearly full health.
Based on who was skating as "extras" today we could see the following lineup for the Isles:
Extras: Kyle Palmieri, Matt Martin, Grant Hutton, Aho
Keep in mind that Kyle Palmieri is still listed on the team's IR list according to CapFriendly.
Of course, who's an extra now doesn't mean they won't be in the lineup come game time. So we'll have to wait till puck drop to know for sure what the lineup actually is, but this is a good projection based on what was seen at practice today and the days leading up to today's practice.
According to WynnBet, the Isles are the favorite for tonight's game with a -200 MoneyLine. That should surprise no one. The Islanders have the home-ice advantage and are facing a goalie with 0 NHL experience behind a lineup that's severely depleted by COVID. I'm actually surprised the line isn't higher than -200.
Where to catch the game?
In person: UBS Arena, Get tickets here
On TV: MSG+, MSG Go, EPSN+
Over the radio: 88.7FM, 98.7FM, 103.9FM