RED WINGS (21-23-8) at ISLANDERS (26-23-6)
7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-D, NHL.TV
The New York Islanders are hopeful defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 27 when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center on Friday.
Boychuk has missed 18 games because of a lower-body injury but was activated from injured reserve Friday. New York has the worst defense in the NHL; it is averaging 35.3 shots-against per game and has allowed a League-high 201 goals in 55 games. The Islanders have allowed at least four goals in 14 of their past 18 games, including a 4-3 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Detroit has lost its past two games. Friday begins a stretch in which the Red Wings play 10 games in 17 days.
Players to watch
Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek is 4-1-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage in his past six starts.
Islanders center John Tavares has three points (two goals, one assist) during a three-game point streak.
They said it
"There's a huge urgency of the games we have coming. The games we have ahead of us will make the latter games matter if you take care of business. We need to make those games matter at the end of the year by winning right now. Certainly the games we have coming up are critical, but they're not any more critical than the ones that we've had, but they're critical. It's a critical junction." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill
"We can't afford to lose hockey games." -- Islanders coach Doug Weight
Red Wings projected lineup
Anthony Mantha -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar -- Dylan Larkin -- Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Justin Abdelkader
Tyler Bertuzzi -- Luke Glendening -- Martin Frk
Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen
Niklas Kronwall -- Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson -- Trevor Daley
Scratched: Dominic Turgeon, Luke Witkowski, Xavier Ouellet
Islanders projected lineup
Anthony Beauvillier -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey
Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle
Andrew Ladd -- Brock Nelson -- Cal Clutterbuck
Ross Johnston -- Casey Cizikas -- Jason Chimera
Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk
Adam Pelech -- Sebastian Aho
Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock
Scratched: Alan Quine, Dennis Seidenberg
Injured: Tanner Fritz (undisclosed), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), Calvin de Haan (upper body), Scott Mayfield (lower body)
Neither team held a morning skate. … Zetterberg had a maintenance day Thursday but is expected to play. … Greiss is expected to start after Halak played in Buffalo.
The Red Wings have scored two goals or fewer in nine of their past 12 games. Mantha has one point in his past nine games. … Nelson, Bailey and Leddy all have three-game point streaks. The Islanders are 11-16-4 in their past 31 games.