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Islanders at Panthers preview

New York can lock up at least second place in Metropolitan; Barkov eyes Florida points record

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

ISLANDERS (46-27-7) at PANTHERS (36-32-12)

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

 

The Game

The New York Islanders will look to secure at least second place in the Metropolitan Division when they visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday.

The Islanders, who are 4-2-0 in their past six games, need to earn one more point on Thursday than the Pittsburgh Penguins, who host the Detroit Red Wings, to finish at least second in the division and have home-ice advantage for the Eastern Conference First Round.  

The Panthers, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, have won three straight after going 1-5-0 in their previous six games.

 

Players to watch

Islanders forward Jordan Eberle has four goals in a three-game goal streak and is one away from scoring at least 20 for the sixth straigth season. 

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov needs one point to break Pavel Bure's single-season Florida record of 94 points, set in 1999-2000. Barkov has a career-high 34 goals and 60 assists in 80 games this season.  

 

They said it

"Whatever happens this weekend, we want to try and find a way to get four points, but no matter what, we're going to be resetting and getting ready for whoever our [playoff] opponent is next week." -- Islanders forward Josh Bailey

"There's six periods to play and I expect nothing less that we want to make sure that we're winning some battles and showing some intensity, playing with passion and hopefully winning two home games." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey -- Brock Nelson -- Michael Dal Colle

Anthony Beauvillier -- Leo Komarov -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Thomas Hickey

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Thomas Greiss

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Ross Johnston, Johnny Boychuk, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg

Injured: Tanner Fritz (hand), Valtteri Filppula (upper body), Andrew Ladd (knee)

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman -- Vincent Trocheck -- Jayce Hawryluk

Frank Vatrano -- Henrik Borgstrom -- Colton Sceviour

Dryden Hunt -- Riley Sheahan -- Troy Brouwer

Mike Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle -- MacKenzie Weegar

Mark Pysyk -- Josh Brown

Sam Montembeault

Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Jamie McGinn, Denis Malgin, Ian McCoshen, Brady Keeper, James Reimer

Injured: Derek MacKenzie (shoulder)

 

Status report

Hickey is expected back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past six games. … Montembeault will make his 10th NHL start after Luongo started the past three games.

 

Stat pack

The Islanders need one shutout to set a single-season high of 11; they also had 10 in 1975-76. … Barkov (41 points; 15 goals, 26 assists) and Huberdeau (37 points; 15 goals, 22 assists) are first and second in the NHL in points and tied for first in goals since Feb. 17. … Hoffman is one point shy of 300 in the NHL.

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