New York Islanders face Florida Panthers in playoff rematch 2
Apr 24, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) is congratulated by Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) after the Islanders defeated the Panthers in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders will play a familiar opponent for the first time since the 2016 playoffs tonight in Brooklyn.

  • Florida Panthers (18-16-8, 44pts)
  • New York Islanders (15-15-7, 38pts)
  • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • 7 p.m. puck drop, MSG+
The New York Islanders knocked the Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers out of the playoffs in six games last season to advance in the post-season for the first time in 23 years, and it’s time for a rematch.

Many familiar faces including Aaron Ekblad, Roberto Luongo and Jaromir Jagr return for the Panthers tonight.

Not only is it a rematch full of familiar faces but these are teams with the same story.

Both squads are two teams coming off of successful seasons in 2015-16. The Panthers won the Atlantic Division for the 2nd time in their history last season while also setting a team record with 103 points.

New York is coming fresh off of their second consecutive 100 point season as well as the deepest post-season run they have made since 1993. They ousted the Florida Panthers in six games, winning the series at the Barclays Center.

Both teams had rising expectations heading into 16-17. The Panthers were expected to challenge for the division once more and with new additions Keith Yandle and James Reimer, they were expected to breeze through the regular season and easily make the second or third round of the playoffs.

For the Islanders, well, there isn’t a whole lot different to say. After replacing longtime forwards Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin with Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera respectively, the Islanders lost a large piece of identity and about 60 points in scoring.

This, in addition to saying goodbye to the longest tenured player and quarterback of the specialty teams in Frans Nielsen and having Brock Nelson inherit the reigns of the second line center, there were a lot of drastic changes in a short time for the Islanders.

As a result, things have not gone accordingly for either team.

Lineup changes

The struggles, the inconsistency, everything will be placed in the backseat for this game tonight.

Emotions are sure to run high, as the projected lineups for New York will near mirror the team that ousted Florida in the opening round (minus the aforementioned players, of course).

Thomas Greiss has the nod tonight for New York and was the man in net when John Tavares buried the 2OT winner behind Luongo.

With Travis Hamonic ailing after suffering an injury in the 2-1 SO loss to Arizona, Adam Pelech was re-inserted into the lineup and will skate with Nick Leddy.

Luongo is expected to be in net tonight for the Panthers.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.