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Preview: Islanders at Panthers

New York set for playoff rematch; Florida coach Gerard Gallant switches defense pairings

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ISLANDERS (5-7-2) at PANTHERS (6-7-1)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; MSG+2, FS-F, NHL.TV

 
Islanders team scope

The New York Islanders look for their first road win of the season; they are 0-4-0 and have been outscored 15-7. They'll play the Florida Panthers, who they eliminated from the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six games last season. "It was a good memory," defenseman Thomas Hickey told the Islanders website. "It's something good to look back on at times but it's a new year and those things can only be thought about so much." Captain John Tavares hopes the Islanders can turn the page on a 4-1 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "Obviously a different time of year [playing the Panthers] and we are trying to build some momentum and get ourselves rolling here," Tavares said, "so it will be a big test playing them." Goalie Jaroslav Halak will start for the Islanders.

 

Panthers team scope

The Panthers have lost six of their past nine games, which led coach Gerard Gallant to switch his defense pairings at the morning skate. Aaron Ekblad, who had been playing with Michael Matheson, will skate with Mark Pysyk. "Overall, that pairing hasn't gone well. There's a lot of new players trying to get the feel for each other," Gallant told the Sun Sentinel. "Ekblad isn't happy. He has two goals. He's a star player in this league. ... Hopefully things will start to go his way." Matheson will play with Alex Petrovic. Goalie Roberto Luongo will start after James Reimer allowed three goals on 28 shots in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. Forward Reilly Smith will play in his 300th NHL game.

 

Islanders projected lineup

Josh Bailey -- John Tavares -- Cal Clutterbuck

Anders Lee -- Brock Nelson -- Jason Chimera

Shane Prince -- Ryan Strome - Anthony Beauvillier

Andrew Ladd -- Casey Cizikas -- Nikolay Kulemin

Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech

Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Alan Quine, Jean-Francois Berube

Injured: Ryan Pulock (lower body), Travis Hamonic (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion)

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith

Colton Sceviour -- Denis Malgin -- Jared McCann

Greg McKegg -- Derek MacKenzie -- Kyle Rau

Mark Pysyk -- Aaron Ekblad

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic 

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Jonathan Huberdeau (Achilles), Nick Bjugstad (hand)

 

Status report

Beauvillier, who was a healthy scratch the past two games, is in the lineup for Quine. ... McIlrath, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Tuesday, will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... The Panthers claimed forward Seth Griffith off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs and he's expected to join them for their next game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. Florida assigned forward Shane Harper to Springfield of the American Hockey League.

 

Who's hot

Tavares has five points in six games (goal, four assists). ... Demers had two goals Thursday and has four points in three games. ... Yandle has five assists in his past six games.

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