The New York Islanders take on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at Barclays Center at 7 p.m. Buy tickets here. Watch the game on MSG+ and MSG GO. Listen on 88.7FM WRHU, AM970 The Answer or 103.9FM LI News. Read the game preview.
Tanner Fritz will make his NHL debut. Shane Prince is in, Alan Quine is out and Jaroslav Halak will start in goal. The Islanders are going with the same defensive personnel, but Sebastian Aho will be on the left side for his second game.
FRITZ TO MAKE NHL DEBUT:
Tanner Fritz has taken a long road to the NHL, but all the hard work and effort will be worth it when he skates out onto the ice at Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
"I'm very excited, I've worked very hard to get to this position," Fritz said.
Fritz went undrafted after four years at Ohio State University and as recently was two years ago was playing for Missouri in the ECHL. The Grand Prairie, AB, native never gave up on his NHL dream, working his way onto the Islanders radar.
"A couple years ago I don't think I would've seen myself in this position but I kept working hard, working at my game, trying to get better each day," Fritz said. "I'm thankful I've gotten a couple good opportunities and I've taken advantage of those."
He turned a solid 2015-16 season in Missouri (10-23-33) into a PTO with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and eventually signed an AHL deal. After finishing fourth on the Sound Tigers in points (19-23-42) in 2016-17, he signed a two-way deal with the Islanders and is having a career year this season in Bridgeport, with 35 points (10G, 25A) in 29 games.
At the time of his recall, Fritz was fourth in the AHL in scoring. He credits Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson with giving him the opportunity to reach his potential.
"Thommer really believes in me there, he's putting me in good situations to be successful," Fritz said. "The guys I'm playing with there, I give a lot of credit to them for helping me get here, so a lot of thanks to them."
Fritz was on a three-game point streak in the AHL before his call-up and Islanders Head Coach Doug Weight said he sees a lot of confidence in a player who is really hitting his stride at the moment. He'll skate alongside Brock Nelson and Shane Prince as Weight looks to inject some energy and offense into his third line.
"He's earned his trip up here," Weight said. "We need some swagger, we want him to bring his energy and bring his confidence. We've talked about the lack of confidence going through our third line and we need some guys to step up and hopefully Tanner can help us get some energy in that position."
Fritz's dad and brother caught a red-eye from Alberta to be at Tanner's debut and his fiancé will be there as well. He's excited to be able to share the moment with them.
"[Thompson] told me I was going up and I just had a weird jitter feeling in my stomach that I haven't had since I was a young kid," Fritz said. "It's an exciting time for me, but also my family."
WEIGHT ON BEAUVILLIER:
Weight spoke about the decision to loan Anthony Beauvillier to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He said he wants to see Beauvillier find his game and his confidence and hopes that having a bigger role with Bridgeport will help him achieve both. The coach said that with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle cementing the team's second line, Beauvillier's role became less clear at times.
"It was a tough talk, we talked to him for an hour on the plane yesterday," Weight said. "Beau was a little lost. He's got to get his confidence. He's a great kid, he's going to be an NHL player, there's no doubt in my mind. It'll be great for him to go down, play a lot of minutes, put a lot of responsibility on him. It's going to be good for him."
ISLANDERS PROJECTED LINES:
|LEFT WING ||CENTER ||RIGHT WING |
|ANDERS LEE ||JOHN TAVARES ||JOSH BAILEY |
|ANDREW LADD ||MATHEW BARZAL ||JORDAN EBERLE |
|SHANE PRINCE ||BROCK NELSON ||TANNER FRITZ |
|JASON CHIMERA ||CASEY CIZIKAS ||CAL CLUTTERBUCK |
|NICK LEDDY ||ADAM PELECH |
|THOMAS HICKEY ||RYAN PULOCK |
|SEBASTIAN AHO ||SCOTT MAYFIELD |
BRUINS PROJECTED LINES:
|LEFT WING ||CENTER ||RIGHT WING |
|BRAD MARCHAND ||PATRICE BERGERON ||DAVID PASTRNAK |
|JAKE DEBRUSK ||DAVID KREJCI ||RYAN SPOONER |
|DANTON HEINEN ||RILEY NASH ||DAVID BACKES |
|TIM SCHALLER ||SEAN KURALY ||NOEL ACCIARI |
|ZDENO CHARA ||CHARLIE MCAVOY |
|TOREY KRUG ||BRANDON CARLO |
|MATT GRZELCYK ||KEVAN MILLER |