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Game Preview: Islanders vs Blue Jackets

The Islanders take on their Metro Division rivals in Brooklyn (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha /




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The New York Islanders are coming off an 0-2-1 California swing, where they only collected one point through three games, and are looking to turn the page as they face the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

"We had some moments, but we've got to put together a full game," Anders Lee said at Friday's practice. "That was a big takeaway for us; it wasn't consistent throughout each night and was a little too sporadic. I think coming back home, getting to have a day yesterday with family and friends. We get back together, regroup and get back to how we were when we were doing really well. It was a couple of tough games on a road trip in a couple of tough buildings. We've got to get back on track." 

The Islanders are hoping that some home cooking can do the trick, as they are 10-2-1 at home this season, including 3-0-1 at Barclays Center. 


- Thomas Greiss was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate, suggesting he'll be the starter for Saturday's contest. Greiss has won four of his last five starts against the Blue Jackets, including a 34-save effort on Oct. 19. 

- Nick Leddy is likely to return to the Islanders lineup on Saturday night, after sitting out Wednesday's game with a lower-body injury.

- The Columbus Bue Jackets did not hold a morning skate. Their lineup will be announced closer to game time. Elvis Merzlikins is the projected starter, according to the team's official website.


-   The Isles are coming off a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Derick Brassard scored the Isles sole goal of the game, before the Kings responded with four unanswered goals. Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves. 

-   Brassard scored his seventh goal of the season. Through 23 games, Brassard has 17 points. Brassard has 10 points (2G, 8A) through his last eight games. 

-   Brock Nelson assisted on Brassard's goal and has a team-high of 12 assists. Nelson has 10 points (4G, 6A) through his last eight games. On the season, Nelson is tied with Mathew Barzal for the most points at 20. 

-   Thomas Greiss is the expected starter as the Isles have rotated goalies this season. Greiss has a record of 9-2-0, a 2.15 goals against average and a save percentage of .930. 

-   The Islanders are first team since the Sharks in 2006-07 to alternate starting goalies for each of the first 23 games of the season. Varlamov made his 12th start of the season against LA and has a record of 7-3-2, a goals against average of 2.66 and a save percentage of .911. 

-   The Isles are winless in three-straight games for the first time this season and scored only two goals in three games in California. 

-   This season, the Isles are 7-2-1 when scoring first and are 9-3-1 when allowing the opening goal.

-   Nick Leddy did not play against Los Angeles as he was tending to a nagging lower-body injury. Leddy returned to full-contact practice with the Isles on Friday morning. Head coach Barry Trotz said he didn't see any reason why Leddy wouldn't be available to play against Columbus. 

-   Tom Kuhnhackl returned to practice for the first time since Oct. 25 after sustaining a lower-body injury against Ottawa and being placed on injured reserve. Kuhnhackl has not been activated and a timeline hasn't been given, but Kuhnhackl was, "excited" to rejoin the group at practice.

Video: Isles Practice 11/29: Barry Trotz

-   Columbus is coming off of a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on its first leg of its back-to-back. Gustav Nyquist had a hat trick and Nick Folgino scored twice, while Joonas Korpisalo made 29 saves. 

-   Nyquist scored his second-career hat trick on Friday evening against Pittsburgh. Nyquist leads Columbus in points with 18 and has seven goals through 25 games. 

-   Folgino has three goals in his last two games. The Blue Jackets captain has 11 points (4G, 7A) through 21 games this season. 

-   Oliver Bjorkstrand extended his point streak to six games (2G, 7A), which is tied with his career high, as he added an assist on Nyquist's first goal. This season, Bjorkstrand has 15 points (6G, 9A). 

-   Korpisalo made his 19th start of the season and has a record of 10-8-1, a 2.88 goals against average and a save percentage of .901. Korpisalo won for the fifth time in six starts.

-   Riley Nash returned to the lineup for the first time in four games after being a healthy scratch. Nash replaced Eric Robinson. This season, Nash has six points (1G, 5A) through 19 games.  

-   Columbus scored first for the 10th straight game. 


During the first meeting of the season, the Isles beat the Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 19 at Nationwide Arena. The Isles had first period goals from Barzal and Michael Dal Colle while Brock Nelson scored 33 seconds into overtime. Greiss made 34 saves. 

The Islanders have won four of their last five meetings against the Blue Jackets. 

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