The laborious, odd regular season is finally over for the New York Islanders and they’re set to host the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first game of their Stanley Cup Playoffs. For the Islanders, it’s been over 30 years since they last hosted anybody in game one, round one of the playoffs. The atmosphere at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum should be electric and bring back memories of some of the Islanders recent playoff series against the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Kris Letang.
Unlike those last series, the Islanders have two quality starting goalies to lean on in this series. Long gone are the days of Evgeni Nabokov – instead the Islanders will turn to Robin Lehner in game one. Should he falter, they have Thomas Greiss waiting in the wings who also had a stellar season.
No changes are expected for the Islanders starting lineup from the one that clinched home ice for them. Thomas Hickey, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, and Ross Johnston will all be watching from the press box. Andrew Ladd is still injured along with Tanner Fritz.
Brian Domoulin, Zach Aston-Reese, and Chad Ruhwedel are all out for the Penguins, but only Domoulin is a huge loss for them. The main pieces of their roster are healthy and slated to start with Matt Murray rolling in net. Murray started off poorly and then got injured, but he’s rebounded nicely for them. Casey DeSmith will back him up.
Game time is at 7:30 P.M. E.D.T. and can be seen on MSG, MSG+, and NBC Sports.