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Game Preview: Islanders vs Panthers

The Isles look to rebound against the Panthers on Alumni Night (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay /




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After two straight losses, the New York Islanders are looking to get back on track when they host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night at NYCB Live - Nassau Coliseum. It's early in the season, but at 1-3-0 - the first time the Isles have been two games under .500 since the end of the 2017-18 season (35-37-10) - they'll be desperate. So will their opponents, as the Panthers have also dropped two straight games. 

"I don't think we've been where we need to be exactly. I think we've showed it at times, but I think consistently we have to get better," Ryan Pulock said. "It's just a mindset. Things aren't going exactly how you want to you just have to dig deeper. That's kind of where we're at now. We really have to regroup here. We have another test tomorrow where we really have to bounce back."


- Nick Leddy will take warmups, but is a game-time decision. Casey Cizikas will miss his second straight game. 

- Head Coach Barry Trotz said Cizikas aggravated the injury he suffered in the Isles final preseason game, but isn't concerned about it being a long-term injury. Leo Komarov will likely take Cizikas' place between Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin. 

- Trotz said he was concerning other line changes in light of his team's five-on-five play. He did not reveal his goaltender, but Semyon Varlamov is the likely start on the second night of a back-to-bacl.


-   The Isles have lost two straight games, a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday and a 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. Head Coach Barry Trotz said he needs to see more from his team, especially at even strength, as the Isles were outshot 38-10 at five-on-five on Friday night. 

"We're going to need more five-on-five and need more from just everybody," Trotz said. "Every night it seems like we have one line going and the other three aren't quite going. We need that four-line mentality and stay in the fight type of thing."

-   The Islanders are playing the second night of a back-to-back. The team will not hold a morning skate on Saturday. Head Coach Barry Trotz will address the media at 4:45 p.m.

-   Nick Leddy and Casey Cizikas both sat out Friday's game with undisclosed injuries. Leddy participated in the team's morning skate on Friday, while Cizikas did not. Noah Dobson was paired with Johnny Boychuk in Leddy's absence, while Leo Komarov centered Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas. Trotz did not have an update on either player on Friday night. 

-   The Islanders netted a pair of power-play goals on Friday night, improving to 3-for-9 (33.3%) on the season. 

-   The Isles are 3-3-1 in their last seven games against Florida. 

-   The Islanders are giving out replica Stanley Cup rings on Saturday night, as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1979-80 championship season. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a ring. 

-   Saturday is also alumni night at the Coliseum. Alumni from every decade will be in attendance, including Denis Potvin, John Tonelli, Mick Vukota and Mariusz Czerkawski. 

Tweet from @NYIslanders: This tweet has a nice 𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 to it! 💍Take a look at this beauty. 😍 The first 10K fans at Saturday's Alumni Weekend game vs. the Panthers will each take home this 1979-80 #Isles Stanley Cup replica ring! Get tickets here:


-   The Panthers also played on Friday night, falling 3-2 in a shootout against the Buffalo Sabres. Florida is winless in their last two contests. 

-   The Panthers made a big splash in free agency over the summer, inking Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70-million contract. Bobrovsky is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the top goalie in the league. 

-   The Islanders may not have to contend with Bobrovsky on Saturday, as the Russian played on Friday night. Sam Montembeault, Florida's 22-year-old backup, is expected to make his first start of the season. He previously made a relief appearance, stopping 19-of-20 shots against Carolina. 

-   The Panthers other big addition of the offseason was Head Coach Joel Quenneville. Quenneville is the NHL's second-winningest coach of all time with 891 wins and also second on the all-time games coached list (1,640). 

-   Mike Hoffman leads the Panthers in goals (5) and points (7). Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team with four assists. 


Tweet from @NYIslanders: You can look forward to meeting all of these #Isles alumni attending the game tonight at the Coli! 🙌

Tweet from @NYIslanders: ���Get here early, this thing is beautiful!��� 😍💍You heard it straight from #Isles legend Clark Gillies! Tonight���s giveaway is a beauty! Be there for it:

Tweet from @NYIslanders: Real 🆚 Replica? 💍We can hardly tell the difference! Get yours at tonight���s #Isles��game!

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