The Islanders return to the Nassau Coliseum for the first time since Nov. 13 to host the Vegas Golden Knights in the first meeting between the two clubs this season.
The Isles return home after wrapping up the second leg of a back-to-back set against Montreal on Tuesday night at Bell Centre. The fatigued Isles dropped a 4-2 decision, but still remain second in the Metropolitan Division with 38 points and a record of 18-6-2. Scott Mayfield and Mathew Barzal scored for the Isles while Thomas Greiss made 36 saves.
The Golden Knights wrap-up their Tri-State swing on Long Island after defeating both the Rangers and the Devils this week. The Golden Knights have won their last four games, most recently edging out New Jersey 4-3 on Tuesday during the second night of a back-to-back. Jonathan Marchessault scored a natural hat trick to propel Vegas to the victory while Malcolm Subban made 32 saves.
MORNING SKATE UPDATES:
- Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off at morning skate and is the projected starter to face the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. Varlamov will make his 14th start in net tonight.
- The Isles used a variety of line combinations as Head Coach Barry Trotz said he had put his lines through a blender. Notably, Derick Brassard returned to playing down the middle in between Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle.
"He's had some success and now he's in the middle," Trotz said. "I think he can make plays. From that standpoint, we'll see. That's what we've got to find out. That's what we signed him on to do and we'll give him some players that he can do it with."
- The loss to Montreal ended the Isles' season-opening eight game winning streak against Atlantic Division opponents and was their first regulation loss to an Eastern Conference team in the last 16 games (14-1-1).
- The Isles are 7-2-0 at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum ice, where they have won six straight games. Overall, the Isles are on an 11-game home point streak (10-0-1).
- Barzal, who leads the Isles in goals (11), assists (13) and points (24), has four points (2G, 2A) in his last three games.
- Mayfield scored his fourth goal of the season on Tuesday, which ties a career-high, set last season. Mayfield's four goals also lead all Isles defensemen this season. In total, Mayfield has seven points (4G, 3A) through 26 games this season.
- Semyon Varlamov is the expected starter against the Vegas Golden Knights since Head Coach Barry Trotz has continued to rotate goalies. Varlamov has a record of 8-3-2, a goals against average of 2.39 and a save percentage of .922.
- Varlamov has appeared in three straight games for the Islanders, relieving a dizzy Thomas Greiss on Saturday vs Columbus, making a regular start on Monday and taking the ice for the Islanders for 39 seconds while Greiss had a skate blade replaced on Tuesday.
- The Islanders are first team since the Sharks in 2006-07 to alternate starting goalies for each of the first 26 games of the season.
- Cal Clutterbuck left the game in the first period after receiving a cross check to the mouth. Clutterbuck did not return after his 2:02 total time on ice and Trotz did not have an immediate update after the game.
- Michael Dal Colle returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two straight games. Dal Colle played on the wing of Jordan Eberle and Leo Komarov and logged 13:58.
- Chandler Stephenson, who was just acquired by Vegas on Monday night from Washington, scored in his debut for the Golden Knights on Tuesday. Stephenson has five points (4G, 1A) through 25 games this season.
- Marchessault scored three goals during the span of nine minutes in the third period for his natural trick. Marchessault was scoreless through the previous eight games, up until scoring his hat trick against the Devils. Marchessault has 21 points (8G, 13A) through 30 games this season.
- Vegas' power play went 1-for-3 against the Devils and is ranked seventh in the NHL at 23.2%.
- Alex Tuch had a team-high three assists against New Jersey. Tuch is riding a three-game point streak with six points (3G, 3A) during that span. Through 13 games this season, the 23-year-old winger has eight points (4G, 4A).
- Reilly Smith had two assists against the Devils and leads Vegas in scoring with 12 goals and has 22 points through 30 games this season.
- Marc-Andre Fleury is the Golden Knights No. 1 goaltender, but has missed the past five-straight games for personal reasons after his father passed away last week. Fleury is reportedly expected to join the team ahead of facing the Isles and goaltender Garret Sparks was loaned to AHL Chicago on Wednesday. This season, Fleury has made 19 starts, has a record of 11-6-2, has a 2.54 GAA and a.919 SV%.
- Subban started all five games in Fleury's absence and won his last four starts. Subban has a record of 4-4-2, a save percentage of .909 and a goals against average of 2.86.
- Vegas improved to third in the Pacific Division with 34 points and a record of 15-11-4.
- Cody Eakin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury that he sustained last Friday against Arizona. The centerman has seven points (3G, 4A) through 24 games this season.
ISLES VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS:
Last season, Vegas won both games against the Isles. The Golden Knights edged the Isles 3-2 on Dec. 2 at Barclays Center and defeated them 4-2 eight days later at T-Mobile Arena. Barzal had three points (1G, 2A) between the two games. William Karlsson scored in both meetings for Vegas.