ISLANDERS (10-5-0) at PANTHERS (5-4-4)
TV: MSG+ 2, FS-F
The New York Islanders will look to win their fifth straight game when they visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday.
A victory against the Panthers would also tie a franchise record of winning 11 of the first 16 games of the season. The Islanders won 11 of their first 16 four times before (1976-77, 1982-83, 1987-88, 2001-02).
Left wing Josh Bailey, who missed eight games with a hand injury, was activated off injured reserve Thursday and will be back in the lineup against the Panthers, according to the team's website.
"I'm excited," Bailey said. "It felt like a lot longer than it was. It was three weeks. I got to be a part of everything, watch every game and stay in shape the whole time being able to skate. It could have been a worse injury. It's never easy to watch your team play, but I'm happy they did well and I want to get in and contribute."
The Islanders have outscored the opposition 11-3 over the past four games and have recorded back-to-back shutouts behind goaltender Jaroslav Halak (39 total saves). The team hasn't allowed a goal since 3:49 of the first period of a 2-1 shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 6 and hasn't allowed a power-play goal in 12 opportunities over the past three games.
Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, is making quite the impact as a rookie. He has dished four assists over the past two games and has one goal and six points in the past five. He leads the Panthers with eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 13 games.
The Panthers, who have allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (31), are led by former Islanders goaltender Roberto Luongo (5-3-3, 2.19 goals-against average, .928 save percentage).
Florida holds a 41-28-8-7 all-time record against the Islanders, including a 22-11-6-2 record on home ice. The Islanders have won five of the past seven (5-2-0). The Panthers are holding Hockey Fights Cancer night on Friday and the first 5,000 fans will receive commemorative silicon wrist bands.
Here are the projected lineups:
Nikolay Kulemin - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Mikhail Grabovski
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic
Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky
Scratched: Eric Boulton, Matt Donovan, Brian Strait, Cory Conacher
Injured: Matt Carkner (back), Michael Grabner (lower body)
Tomas Kopecky - Aleksander Barkov - Scottie Upshall
Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Brad Boyes
Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Jimmy Hayes
Tomas Fleischmann - Derek MacKenzie - Shawn Thornton
Willie Mitchell - Aaron Ekblad
Brian Campbell - Colby Robak
Dylan Olsen - Erik Gudbranson
Injured: Dave Bolland (lower body), Brandon Pirri (concussion), Sean Bergenheim (lower body), Dmitry Kulikov (lower body)
Status report: Kulikov will not play against the Islanders, but could return to the Panthers lineup next week, according to the Miami Herald. Bergenheim and Pirri were on the ice during the morning skate on Friday, but will not play.
Who's hot: Luongo is 5-1-2 in the past eight starts with a 1.31 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. … Martin leads the NHL with 73 hits; he's led the League in that category in each of the past three seasons.