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Preview: Panthers at Islanders

New York's Travis Hamonic out for opener of home-and-home set against Florida

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

PANTHERS (18-16-8) at ISLANDERS (15-15-8)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV


Panthers team scope

It's the first game of a home-and-home series for the Florida Panthers against the New York Islanders. Wednesday marks the first time the Panthers have visited Barclays Center since the Islanders eliminated them from the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when New York defeated Florida in six games in the Eastern Conference First Round. The Islanders won Game 6 of that series in Brooklyn on a double-overtime goal by John Tavares. "It was a huge disappointment. Everybody gave their all," Panthers coach Tom Rowe said. "The way we got knocked out was a tough one. It was so sudden, obviously, the way it did end. [But] it's a new year and we've got to get ready. We've got to stay in the fight; we're so close to everybody else to make sure we get back [to the playoffs]."


Islanders team scope

New York will be without defenseman Travis Hamonic, who sustained a lower-body injury during a 2-1 overtime loss at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He will replaced by Adam Pelech, who will play his first game with New York since he was injured during a game against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 28. "I just have to keep it simple, move the puck well and not spend too much time in our own zone," said Pelech, a left-handed shot who will play the right side with Nick Leddy. "I think it's always a positive when you're able to play the left or the right side. It's not something that I mind too much; I did it in junior [with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League] quite a bit, so I'm pretty comfortable with it." New York scored a total of two goals in back-to-back losses at the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona last Friday and Saturday. "Coaches talked about getting to the front of the net more and trying to create some second and third opportunities," said Tavares, who is two points shy of 500 in his NHL career. "I think we were able to generate some good opportunities offensively; we just didn't seem to be as sharp around the net as maybe we were the prior couple of games. We just have to keep getting pucks to the net, and obviously try to generate as many shots and opportunities as you can inside the dots and the middle of the ice and then try and capitalize on second and third opportunities."


Panthers projected lineup

Colton Sceviour -- Vincent Trocheck -- Jaromir Jagr

Jonathan Marchessault -- Jussi Jokinen -- Reilly Smith

Derek MacKenzie -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Jared McCann

Paul Thompson -- Denis Malgin -- Shawn Thornton

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl -- Mark Pysyk

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Dylan McIlrath, Greg McKegg

Injured: Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle), Seth Griffith (upper body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body)


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Shane Prince -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome

Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech

Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: Anthony Beauvillier, Stephen Gionta

Injured: Travis Hamonic (lower body)


Status report

Malgin, who was injured during Florida's 3-0 win at the New Jersey Devils on Monday, will play. "It was just a minor strain," Rowe said. "He says he feels great today." … Hamonic did not skate Wednesday morning and is day-to-day, according to coach Jack Capuano. "I don't suspect he'll be on the ice in the next few days," Capuano said. … Beauvillier, a first-round pick (No. 28) in the 2015 NHL Draft, will be a healthy scratch for a fourth straight game. "We had a good talk this morning, and he understands exactly where we are," Capuano said. "We had a little bit of chemistry here in the last week or so with [our lines], but he's going to get back in here shortly for sure."


Who's hot

Trocheck has four goals and four assists in the past seven games. Jagr has nine points in his past 10 games. … Boychuk has a goal and two assists during a three-game point streak.

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