Following two, crucial back-to-back wins against Metropolitan Division opponents, the New York Islanders look to carry the momentum into a four-game Western Conference road trip. The Islanders embark on their road swing against Central Division opponents with their first stop in Music City to take on the Nashville Predators.
After taking a 3-0 first period lead over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Barclays Center, the Islanders fended off overtime as Ryan Pulock broke a 3-3 tie with 38.9 seconds on the clock in the third period. Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Jordan Eberle and Leo Komarov also scored while Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves.
Nashville suffered their second-straight loss, falling at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. Nashville wrapped up their four-game Western Canada road trip with a 6-2 loss at Vancouver and went 2-2-0 on the trip. Pekka Rinne was pulled after relinquishing four goals on 17 shots in 20:58 and was relieved by Juuse Saros who made 13 saves during his 39:02 of time in net. After being down 4-0, Craig Smith and Mike Granlund scored Nashville's two goals.
- Thomas Greiss was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate, suggesting that he'll start against the Predators. Greiss is 16-7-2 this season with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. In his last five starts, Greiss is 3-0-2, and has won two straight games, most recently stopping 26-of-29 shots in a 5-3 win over Washington.
- Cole Bardreau took line rushes at morning skate between Matt Martin and Leo Komarov. Bardreau was recalled by the Islanders on Wednesday to fill in for Casey Cizikas, who is out three-to-four weeks with a leg laceration.
"Casey is a big part of what we do and gives us a lot of identity," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "Casey went out early in the year and it was next man up. Cole Bardreau is going to go into that spot today and I expect the same thing that he did last time. Give us the same qualities that made Casey exceptional in terms of he plays with that energy, he plays with passion, he's good on face offs and kills penalties and it a pain in the butt to play against. That's what we're hoping."
Bardreau said getting nine games in with the Islanders in October and November has helped him prepare for his second recall. The 26-year-old said he has a better idea of what to expect and wants to use his extended opportunity to make a lasting impression.
"This time, I kind of want to show that I belong and show that I can stick," Bardreau said. "That's the biggest thing. The first time around get my feet wet, just being excited to be here and get that opportunity and now it's try to show that I do have the ability to stick and that I'm not just a fill-in guy."
- The Isles scored three first period goals for the second straight game and have only done so twice in the first 53 games. The Isles scored three first period goals on consecutive days for the fifth time in club history and first time since December 28-29, 1991.
- Pulock's game-winner was his seventh goal of the season and his third game-winner. Pulock leads Isles defenseman in points (29), assists (22) and goals.
- Bailey scored his 12th goal of the season and extended his point streak to three games (1G, 5A). The winger has 37 points through 55 games this season.
- Martin found the back of the net for the fifth time this season. The winger has eight points through 43 games this season.
- Eberle scored for the second night in as many games and potted his 10th goal of the season. The winger has 30 points through 45 games.
- Komarov scored on the empty net and has goals in back-to-back games. The winger has 13 points (3G, 10A) through 36 games this season. Komarov also assisted on Martin's goal and registered the 100th assist of his career.
- Mathew Barzal recorded three primary assists, including one on the game-winning goal. It's the sixth time in his career he has had at least three assists and the third time he has had at least three primary assists. Barzal leads the Isles in points (48) and assists (30) through 55 games this season.
- Varlamov made his 30th start of the season and improved his record to 17-9-4.
- Casey Cizikas left the game 3:23 into the first period after colliding with Ivan Provorov and catching a skate to the leg. The Islanders announced on Wednesday afternoon that Cizikas will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a leg laceration. In his place, the Islanders recalled Cole Bardreau from their AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The 26-year-old center has played nine NHL games and scored his first-career goal on Nov. 5 on a penalty shot. Bardreau has three points (2G, 1A) in 29 games for the Sound Tigers this season.
- Smith scored his second goal in as many games. The winger found the back of the net for the 13th time this season and his third on the power play. Through 55 games this season, Smith has 24 points.
- Granlund scored his third goal in four games and tallied his 13th goal of the season. Through 49 games, the center has 22 points.
- Roman Josi extended his point streak to three games as he assisted on Smith's power-play goal. During that span Josi has four assists. Among defenseman in the NHL, Josi is ranked second in points (55) and assists (41). Josi's 55 points and 41 assists lead the Preds.
- Filip Forsberg leads Nashville in goals with 18 goals through 49 games. The winger has 38 points through 49 games.
- The Preds average the fifth-most shots for per game in the NHL with a nightly average of 33.5.
- At the faceoff circle, Nashville is sixth best in the league in faceoff wins with a percentage of 51.5.
- Nashville is sixth in the Central Division with 59 points and a record of 26-22-7.
- Ryan Ellis is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury he sustained during the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day. Ellis joined his teammates for the first time on the ice in Winnipeg on Feb. 4, but is still on IR.
ISLES VS. PREDS:
Nashville routed the Islanders 8-3 on Dec. 17 at NYCB Live during the first meeting of the season series. Derick Brassard, Brock Nelson (power play) and Casey Cizikas (shorthanded) had the Isles up 3-1 in the second period, but the Isles then relinquished seven-straight goals to the Preds.