The New York Islanders take on the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at NYCB Live - Nassau Coliseum at 7 p.m. Buy tickets. Watch on MSG+, MSG GO, or NHL.TV. Listen live on 660AM/101.9FM WFAN, 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News or online at radio.com/islanders. Read the game preview. Check the game notes.
Barry Trotz is leaning towards going back to the same lineup from Tuesday's 2-1 OT win over St. Louis, with one potential change, which he did not reveal.
The Islanders are likely to split their goalies during the back-to-back set. Thomas Greiss has two wins over New Jersey this season, while Robin Lehner is 9-1-0 in his last 10 games.
Video: Morning Skate 1/17: Barry Trotz
ISLES SCORING DEPTH:
The Islanders are scoring by committee this season, with eight players recording 10 or more goals.
Anders Lee and Brock Nelson lead the way with 16 apiece, while Mathew Barzal (13), Anthony Beauvillier (12), Casey Cizikas (11), Josh Bailey (10), Jordan Eberle (10) and Valtteri Filppula (10) all have at least 10. All four lines are represented.
"You look at the identity of our team, it's not one or two lines, it's all four lines and we're at our best when everyone is playing well and we're rolling," Eberle said. "If we can continue to have that consistency throughout the lineup we're a tough team to beat."
It's been a while since the Islanders had this type of scoring depth through 45 games. Per NHL PR:
Head Coach Barry Trotz said the scoring depth is a result of his team buying into a new philosophy and a new system.
"They've come in and been given roles and they've accepted those roles and produced in those roles," Trotz said. "That's all you can ask as a coach, be a contributing player."
FIRST PLACE IN SIGHT:
If the Islanders win both games on Thursday and Friday, they could conceivably wake up on Saturday morning in first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Islanders (56 points) are three points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals (59 points) for first place. They'd need to win on Thursday vs New Jersey, on Friday in Washington and the Blue Jackets would need to lose on Friday vs Montreal.
So a few things need to happen for the Islanders, but just to be in this position is exciting for a team that outsiders had pegged for the division cellar before the season.
"It's crazy to think that this team is four points, or two points out of first place and we're right in the hunt and right in the mix," Mathew Barzal said. "It's been a fun year. Now that we're halfway through the year, people have to take us for real. It's not just 10 games in, we're 45 games in. It's been fun. Everyone is doing their job, everyone is really committed this year, everyone is playing great, everyone is having their best years and we're having fun doing it too."
DEVILS PROJECTED LINES:
Marcus Johansson - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Blake Coleman - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Brett Seney - Pavel Zacha - Drew Stafford
Brian Boyle - Kevin Rooney - Blake Pietila
Andy Greene - Damon Severson
Will Butcher - Sami Vatanen
Mirco Mueller - Steven Santini