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Islanders excited for first playoff game in Brooklyn

Tied series against Panthers shifts to Barclays Center for Game 3

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer


Eastern Conference First Round

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, FS-F

NEW YORK -- After playing 121 Stanley Cup Playoff games at Nassau Coliseum from 1972-2015, the New York Islanders play their first postseason game at Barclays Center on Sunday.

The Islanders, who were 80-41 in playoff games at the Coliseum, moved to Brooklyn this season and went 25-11-5. They're hoping to build on that success and take a 2-1 series lead in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Florida Panthers.

"We're excited," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after the morning skate. "This is an exciting time. We don't know what to expect but I expect it to be loud. We talked about how great the Coliseum was, and I say this place will be the same here tonight. First game, history being made tonight, I know our club is looking forward to it."

The Islanders won Game 1, 5-4 before losing Game 2, 3-1. Defenseman Thomas Hickey said there's no point dwelling on missing an opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead.

"We probably deserved to lose Game 1 and win Game 2, and then you'd be feeling pretty good about yourself," Hickey said. "But it's playoff time and you have a short memory, and you sort of look ahead. You don't get too high after a win or too low after a loss.

"We are feeling more than just an opportunity with us having home ice here and this is a five-game series, so it's a great opportunity for us. Home ice, getting the last change, playing in front of our fans."

Islanders forward Kyle Okposo wasn't focusing on the site of the, rather what's at stake.

"It doesn't matter where we are playing," Okposo said. "We're in Game 3 of the series and we are focused on getting the win."

The Islanders may use the same lineup from Game 2, although Capuano hinted there may be a change to the forwards. The Panthers will insert forward Greg McKegg, who was a scratch for the first two games.

"He's played some games for us and played real well," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "He's a real responsible defensive guy, he can kill penalties and win big faceoffs. I've like what I've seen from him."

Panthers forward Reilly Smith, who leads all scorers in the series with three goals and five points, wasn't expecting much of a difference now that his team is on the road.

"Pretty much the same thing [from Games 1 and 2]," Smith said. "They are a good team, they work hard. I think the biggest thing for us is how we're going to play and what we can bring to the table. We've had two strong games at home, it's a little different when you are on the road but if you can steal a couple of games on the road, it's a different series."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Reilly Smith

Jiri Hudler - Derek MacKenzie - Teddy Purcell

Garrett Wilson - Greg McKegg - Shawn Thornton

Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Michael Matheson - Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Vincent Trocheck (foot), Dave Bolland (lower body), Willie Mitchell (concussion), Steven Kampfer (lower body)

Scratched: Quinton Howden, Logan Shaw, Jakub Kindl


Frans Nielsen - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Nikolay Kulemin - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey

Shane Prince - Alan Quine - Ryan Strome  

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck  

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic

Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey - Ryan Pulock  

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube  

Injured: Anders Lee (broken fibula), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Brian Strait (upper body), Jaroslav Halak (lower body)

Scratched: Marek Zidlicky, Adam Pelech, Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Christopher Gibson

Status report: McKegg will make his playoffs debut. He last played April 7 and had two goals in 15 games this season. .... Shaw was recalled Saturday with Rocco Grimaldi going to Portland of the American Hockey League, but likely will be a healthy scratch. ... Matheson will stay in with Kindl a healthy scratch again. ... Trochek (foot) will not play but traveled to New York. Gallant said he expects him to return to the lineup before the series is over. He hasn't played since March 29.

Who's hot: Smith has five points in the series, including two multipoint performances. He had two goals and an assist in Game 1, and a goal and an assist in Game 2. ... Bjugstad had a goal and an assist in Game 1 and has points in six of his past seven games. ... Tavares has four points in the series. ... Okposo has two goals and seven assists in his past six games.

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