Casey Cizikas returns in grand style for the New York Islanders’ playoff-style game against the Boston Bruins.
- New York Islanders (42-23-7, 91 points)
- Boston Bruins (43-20-9, 95 points)
- 7 p.m. ET
- MSG+, WRHU 88.7 FM
Barry Trotz confirmed after the Islanders practice this morning both Casey Cizikas and Johnny Boychuk would be available for Tuesday night’s contest. Cizikas has missed the last several games due to illness, and Boychuk has been out since a controversial hit from Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek.
Though both are available to play, Trotz confirmed that Boychuk is not in tonight, and Cizikas is a game-time decision.
As has been the Trotz-style, lineups are TBD.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 19, 2019
Including tonight’s matchup, the Islanders have 10 games remaining in their schedule. Sportsclub predicts the Islanders have a 99.9 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason, so the only question is where they finish and what the lineup will look like.
After faltering a bit during their western Canada road trip (and barely scraping by in two wins against Ottawa), the Islanders got back to their winning ways even when their play wasn’t at its peak.
The upcoming tilt against the Boston Bruins is the perfect opportunity for them to measure how competitive they can get against a true Stanley Cup contender.
The last time these two teams met, the Bruins took a hard-fought contest with an empty-net goal to seal the deal 3-1 in their favor. Prior to that, the Bruins edged the Islanders in a disputed 2-1 shootout win after Mathew Barzal‘s overtime goal was disallowed.
For the Islanders to start carrying some serious momentum into their postseason run matchups like this are essential. The Bruins are third in the NHL in points, third in fewest goals-against, third in powerplay percentage, and hold the tenth-best penalty kill.
Injuries to players like Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara and others haven’t wavered their season-long march to the top of the standings. Former Islander Jaroslav Halak has come in clutch for the B’s when Tuukka Rask wasn’t at the top of his game this season and as a result, they are where they are.
“Looks like” David Pastrnak will play tonight, per Bruce Cassidy. But will see how he is following morning skate. He’s officially a game-time decision.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 19, 2019
In the previous two matchups, Halak had not drawn in to face his former club and tonight would be the last chance to see how he stacks up against the Blue and Orange.
Halak is notorious for not playing well against his former teams (5-4-0 vs. Montreal, .900 save percentage, 0-2-1 vs. St. Louis, .860 save percentage) but it’s worth noting his career record against the Islanders is 7-1-1 with a .951 save percentage.
Two big points are on the line tonight for the Islanders as the Washington Capitals face the New Jersey Devils tonight as well. As the battle for first place in the Metropolitan division only tightens, the sprint to the finish is becoming more intense.
Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. ET tonight on MSG+.