The New York Islanders are looking to continue their playoff chase against the New Jersey Devils in the first game of a home-and-home series.
- New York Islanders (26-20-10, 62 points)
- New Jersey Devils (24-23-10, 58 points)
- 7 p.m., MSG+
- Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Berth within sight
If the Toronto Maple Leafs lose in any way tonight, the Islanders can slot into a playoff seed with any win.
Unfortunately, the same can be said for the Florida Panthers, who are tied with the Islanders in points.
For the Islanders to move into a spot, the Panthers will have to lose in regulation to the LA Kings. For Doug Weight and his team, they are well aware of the circumstances surrounding tonight’s match-up.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 18, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Thomas Griess will start in net yet again for the Islanders.
The decision makes sense for a team chasing one playoff spot while there are about four other teams well in the mix. On the front-end of a home-and-home it makes sense to start your starting goaltender in a hostile arena. But having JF Berube continue to see limited playing time is also as disappointing.
The young goaltender was signed after seeing only seven starts last season and it doesn’t appear that number will rise much in the coming season.
Very optional #Isles skate this AM. Seven skaters, including Clutterbuck, and one goalie, Berube. Lineup announced in a few.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 18, 2017
Cal Clutterbuck took his first steps in returning to the lineup today, having participated in an optional skate with the Islanders.
Weight said earlier this week that Clutterbuck could slot in this weekend, so look for him to return to the lineup tomorrow.
Travis Hamonic is taking the proper steps but is still weeks away.
For the Devils, Mike Cammalleri is a healthy scratch tonight and Cory Schneider will start in net.