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Game Preview: Islanders at Red Wings

The Islanders kick off a two-game road trip in Detroit (7:30 p.m., MSG+2)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha /




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The Isles are coming off of a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. The Isles win was a much-needed response from the team following its winless skid (0-2-1) during their California road trip. 

After a quick stop at home, the Isles are on the road for five of their next six games, starting with a back-to-back set against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. 

They'll look to start a new streak against a struggling Detroit team who is winless in nine straight games (0-7-2).

Video: Morning Skate: Isles at Red Wings


- Semyon Varlamov will start in net tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, per Head Coach Barry Trotz following morning skate. Varlamov has a record of 7-3-2 this season and made 30 saves on Saturday against Columbus after Thomas Greiss took himself out of the game 14-minutes into the first period due to illness. 

-  Matt Martin, who is a native of Windsor, Ontario, will have a bit of a homecoming tonight against the Red Wings. Windsor is across the Detroit River and about two miles away from Detroit, so the winger grew up watching the Red Wings. 

"It's always fun," Martin said. "My family will be in the stands. I grew up watching this team. It's always special. I got to go home and see my family last night and eat a home-cooked meal and really just enjoyed the night. I'm excited for the game. It'll be really fun and pretty special."

-  While the Islanders blanked the Blue Jackets 2-0 on Saturday evening, the consensus from the team and coach Trotz was that the effort could continue to be improved and refined. The Isles look to build off of Saturday's win by playing committed hockey and getting all four lines rolling. 

"We know what we need to do to be successful," Josh Bailey said. "When we get everyone involved and everyone going that's when we're at our best. It'll be a good test. We want to start this road trip off the right way."

- Jonathan Bernier will start in goal for Detroit on Monday. The Red Wings used the following lines at morning skate (courtesy of Ansar Khan):

Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Luke Glendening 
Andreas Athanasiou - Valtteri Filppula - Robby Fabbri 
Darren Helm - Frans Nielsen - Filip Zadina 
Brendan Perlini - Christoffer Ehn - Adam Erne 

Patrik Nemeth - Filip Hronek 
Dennis Cholowski - Mike Green 
Alex Biega - Dylan McIlrath 

Jonathan Bernier
Eric Comrie 


-   Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal scored for the Isles, but two goalies were needed for the shutout over the Blue Jackets. Thomas Greiss (nine saves) started for the Isles in net but took himself out of the game with six minutes left in the first period after experiencing symptoms of dizziness. Semyon Varlamov replaced Greiss in net and stopped all 30 shots in relief. The duo combined for a 39-save shutout, the third combined shutout in team history first time Isles had goalies split a shutout since Tommy Salo and Wade Flaherty did so on April 4, 1998. 

-   Lee broke his scoring drought after going 11 games (since Nov. 1) without finding the back of the net. Lee scored his sixth goal of the season on a sharp tic-tac-toe sequence from linemates Barzal and Josh Bailey. Lee has 11 points (6G, 5A) through 24 games this season. 

-   Barzal roofed a backhander on a breakaway to score his 10th goal of the season. Through 24 games this season, Barzal leads the Isles in scoring and points (22). Barzal scored his 50th-career goal on the play and he 22-year-old has 169-career points through 190 games played. 

-   The Islanders are first team since the Sharks in 2006-07 to alternate starting goalies for each of the first 24 games of the season. Saturday against Columbus was the 24th straight game the Islanders had rotated between starting netminders, which tied a team record. If Varlamov starts on Monday, the Isles will set a new team record for goalie rotations (25) to start a season. 

-   Varlamov is the expected starter in the goalie rotation. The Russian netminder has a 7-3-2 record, with a 2.50 GAA, a .918 SV% and one official shutout this season.

-   The Isles win over Columbus was their fourth straight win on home ice. The win also extended their home-ice point streak to 11 straight games (10-0-1), which matches the longest streak in the post-Cup era. 

-   The Isles did not have a power play opportunity for the second time this season. Across the league, the Isles have had the fewest opportunities at 55, the next lowest team with chances on the power play is Anaheim at 70. 

-   The Isles shutout over Columbus was its second shutout of the season. The Isles also shutout Buffalo 1-0 on Nov. 2

-   Nick Leddy returned to the lineup after missing the Isles game against Los Angeles with a lower-body injury. Leddy logged 18:55 time on ice. 


-   Detroit suffered a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday and extended its losing streak to nine games (0-7-2). Robby Fabbri scored on the power play and Luke Glendening also scored for the Red Wings. Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves. 

-   Fabbri has goals in back-to-back games. Through 21 games this season, the 23-year-old center has 11 points (6G, 5A), including 10 points (5G, 5A) since joining the Red Wings via trade. 

-   Bernier has a record of 5-7-2 this season, a goals against average of 3.30 and a save percentage of .894. He's taken over starting duties, as Jimmy Howard suffered a knee injury on Nov. 24.

-   To shore up their goaltending depth, Detroit acquired goaltender Eric Comrie from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Vili Saarijarvi on Saturday.

-   Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi have a team-high 23 points. Mantha has 12 goals through 25 games. Bertuzzi has a team-high of 13 assists through 29 games. 

-   Mantha is expected to be out for two weeks with a lower-body injury he sustained against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 23. 

-   Filip Zadina was recalled from the Rapids following Mantha's injury on Nov. 24. The Red Wings 2018 first round pick (sixth overall) recorded an assist on Fabbri's power play goal against the Caps. Zadina has four career points (1G, 3A) through 13 career games. 

-   The Red Wings recalled defenseman Jonathan Ericsson from Detroit's AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned goaltender Calvin Pickard to the Griffins on Sunday. Ericsson has appeared in seven games with the Red Wings in 2019-20, registering five shots on goal, 11 hits and three blocked shots while averaging 17:19 time on ice. 

-   The Red Wings are last in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with a 7-19-3 record and 17 points. 

-   Detroit has allowed a league-high 115 goals this season. 


The Isles have won four of their last five meetings vs the Red Wings and took two of three contests last season. 

The Isles won the first two meetings with a 3-2 decision on Dec. 8 at Little Ceasars Arena and a 4-3 shootout win on Dec. 15 at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum. The Red Wings beat the Islanders 2-1 on March 16 in Detroit. 

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