ISLANDERS (31-23-11) at CANUCKS (28-30-8)
10 p.m. ET; SNP, MSG, NHL.TV
Islanders team scope
The New York Islanders enter play Thursday in the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "It's fun to have meaningful games," coach Doug Weight said. "They have embraced it as players." New York is 14-6-3 since Weight became coach on Jan. 17, and 4-2-1 on a season-high nine-game road trip that concludes against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. "It's been a long trip," Andrew Ladd said. "Every game the standings can shift by a lot so it's part of dealing with being in this situation and not getting too far in front of yourself and just focusing on game in front of you." Goalie Thomas Greiss will make his eighth straight start for New York, which is using defense pairs from a 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Travis Hamonic played with Calvin de Haan for the first time this season and often against Connor McDavid's line. "It's pretty seamless for a lot of guys," Weight said. "(They) played a lot together in the past." Forward Shane Prince was sent to New York after injuring his ankle in Edmonton and will be replaced in the lineup by Stephen Gionta, who has four assists in 12 games.
Canucks team scope
Right wing Nikolay Goldobin won't play because of the flu, leaving the Vancouver Canucks with 11 healthy forwards against the Islanders. Vancouver will dress seven defensemen, with Alex Biega expected to play forward on the fourth line. Defenseman Nikita Tryamkin also is expected to return after missing six games with the mumps. Vancouver is seven points behind St. Louis for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. The Canucks are 2-0-1 in their past three games after losing the previous four but couldn't get an extra point in a 2-1 overtime loss against the Montreal Canadiens to start a five-game homestand on Tuesday. "We know we need points to even have a slight chance of making it," captain Henrik Sedin said. Vancouver traded veteran forwards Jannik Hansen and Alexandre Burrows before the March 1 NHL Trade Deadline for a prospect, a draft pick and Goldobin, who scored in his Canucks debut on Saturday. "It would be easy for them to get deflated and they've never done that," coach Willie Desjardins said. "The positive is our attitude. The room still competes hard, they come out and believe they can find a way to win, even when they are down they think they can come back."
Islanders projected lineup
Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd -- Ryan Strome -- Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin -- Brock Nelson -- Joshua Ho-Sang
Stephen Gionta -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech
Calvin de Haan -- Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey -- Dennis Seidenberg
Scratched: Scott Mayfield
Injured: Shane Prince (ankle), Casey Cizikas (hand), Johnny Boychuk (foot), Alan Quine (upper body)
Canucks projected lineup
Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Markus Granlund
Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Joseph Cramarossa
Brendan Gaunce -- Brandon Sutter -- Jayson Megna
Reid Boucher -- Michael Chaput -- Alex Biega
Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev
Ben Hutton -- Nikita Tryamkin
Scratched: Philip Larsen
Injured: Loui Eriksson (knee), Jacob Markstrom (lower body), Jack Skille (groin), Anton Rodin (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist surgery), Derek Dorsett (neck surgery)
Kulemin will move up from the fourth line into Prince's spot on the third line with Nelson and Ho-Sang, who scored his first NHL goal in Edmonton. Gionta replaces Prince on the fourth line. … Cramarossa, who was claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on March 1, is expected to take Goldobin's spot on the second line after playing there against the Canadiens on Tuesday. Eriksson played there before getting injured in Anaheim on Sunday.
Tavares has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. … Horvat has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past 11 games.