New York Islanders (31-23-11) 73 Pts @ Vancouver Canucks (28-30-8) 64 Pts
When: March 9th, 2107
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
Time: 10 PM EST
TV: MSG (Brendan Burke, Butch Goring)
Radio: AM 970, 88.7FM – WRHU, 103.9FM – LI News (Chris King, Greg Picker)
The Islanders continue on their seemingly never-ending road trip, as they pay a visit to the Canucks this evening. This will be game eight of a nine game trip. The Isles come in having played a very solid game against a tough Oilers team. That lifted their record to 4-2-1 on the road swing. While the Isles are guaranteed no worse than a .500 trip, they can guarantee a winning one with a victory tonight.
Thomas Greiss will once again get the start in net. He looked excellent after recovering from the barrage of shots he received in the first period of the Calgary loss. On the injury front, Stephen Gionta will take the place of Shane Prince who left with a lower-body injury on Tuesday night. Prince was sent back to New York for further evaluation, but Coach Doug Weight said it “did not look good.” On the defensive side, Johnny Boychuk will miss his third-straight game with a sore foot he got from blocking a shot.
The Canucks are seven points out of the playoffs with 16 to play, so the Isles need to capitalize against this kind of team.
The Islanders are looking to sweep the season series from Vancouver. They defeated the Canucks 4-2 on November 7th at Barclays Center. Vancouver has not been kind to the Isles. They are looking for their first back to back wins against the Canucks since 1992 and 1993.
As far as the playoff race is concerned, the teams involved are starting to become clearer as the days wear on. We have three categories:
Need a Miracle
Carolina, Detroit, and the Devils.
Likely Also Toast
Islanders, Maple Leafs, Flyers, Lightning, Panthers
The Isles currently hold the final Wild Card spot with 73 points, one more than Toronto, three more than Philly, and four more than Tampa Bay and Florida. By the time the Isles take the ice, they will be in in one of three spots. They will either still be in the eight spot, a point ahead of the Leafs and Flyers, who tangle tonight at 7:30, they’ll be in the nine spot, a point behind Toronto, or they will be tied with the Leafs for the spot. The Isles own tiebreakers currently against all the competing teams, as they have more ROW.
The other game to watch tonight is Minnesota at Tampa Bay.
There are 17 games left in the season. After Vancouver, the Isles head to St. Louis to finish off the franchise-long nine game road trip.