The New York Islanders will host the Florida Panthers for the only time this season in a rematch of last season’s opening-round playoff series. The Islanders look to end a two-game losing streak tonight. They will turn to Thomas Greiss in goal. Greiss has played well of late, especially since the Isles sent Jaroslav Halak down to Bridgeport after he cleared waivers.
The Panthers will go with veteran goalie Roberto Luongo in net. Luongo is coming off a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils on Monday which moved him into fifth place on the NHL’s all-time victory list for goalies with 448.
Despite their two-game losing streak, the Islanders have earned a point in six of their last seven games (4-1-2).
The Panthers are in the thick of the playoff race in the Atlantic Division race. They are just two points out of third place entering tonight’s game despite dealing with a rash of injuries to key players.
Florida Panthers at New York Islanders
Barclays Center – 7:00 PM EST
Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus; Fox Sports Florida
2016-17 Season Series: November 12, 2016, Panthers 3, Islanders 2 (OT)
New York Islanders – 15-15-8 – 38 points
Home Record: 11-7-4
Hot Players: Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss
Key Injuries; Travis Hamonic
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Shane Prince – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy – Adam Pelech
Thomas Hickey – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Florida Panthers – 18-16-8 – 44 points
Road Record: 8-8-5
Hot Players: Jonathan Marchessault, Vincent Trocheck
Key Injuries: Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Petrovic
Colton Sceviour – Vincent Trocheck – Jaromir Jagr
Jonathan Marchessault – Jussi Jokinen – Reilly Smith
Derek MacKenzie – Michael Sgarbossa – Jared McCann
Paul Thompson – Denis Malgin – Shawn Thornton
Keith Yandle – Jason Demers
Michael Matheson – Aaron Ekblad
Mark Pysyk – Jakub Kindl
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The Islanders will be without defenseman Travis Hamonic who is listed as day-t0-day after suffering an injury against Arizona. Adam Pelech returns to the lineup and will be paired with Nick Leddy for the Islanders. This will be Pelech’s first game since November 28.
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Andrew Ladd has been successful against the Panthers over the course of his career. Ladd has 11 goals and 27 points against the Panthers. Meanwhile, Jaromir Jagr has been an Islander killer over the course of his Hall of Fame career. In 110 career games against the Isles, Jagr has scored 61 goals and 154 points. Both are career best marks for Jagr.
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Getting an early jump is important for both teams tonight. The Islanders are 0-8-2 when trailing after the first period this season while the Panthers are just 3-9-4 when falling behind after 20 minutes.
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Scoring three goals or more is a key for the Islanders. The Isles are 14-3-2 when scoring at least three goals in a game this season. When they score two goals or fewer, the Islanders are just 1-12-6. The Islanders scored just one goal in each of their last two contests and lost both by 2-1 scores.
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Hall of Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald will be working the game tonight for the Islanders. McDonald has worked for both the Islanders and Panthers and began his NHL broadcasting career 50 years ago with the Los Angeles Kings. McDonald was the Islanders television play-by-play man for the Islanders Stanley Cup wins in 1981, 1982 and 1983. This will be the last time he fills in on an Islanders broadcast.
This is the first game of a home-and-home series between the Islanders and Panthers. It is also the start of a key stretch of games for the Isles against teams they need to pass to get back into the playoff race. After the two games against Florida, the Isles face Carolina and Boston.
Long time hockey writer and author of the new book, “Ice Wars: The Complete History of New York’s Greatest Modern Sports Rivalry.” It tells the story behind every game between the Rangers and Islanders dating back to 1972 and features profiles of more than 80 players from both teams and quotes from more than 50 exclusive interviews from players, coaches and broadcasters from both teams.