New York Islanders (30-22-11) 71 Pts @ Calgary Flames (35-26-4) 74 Pts
When: March 5th, 2107
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB
Time: 4 PM EST
TV: MSG+ (Brendan Burke, Butch Goring)
Radio: 970 AM, WRHU 88.7 FM, and WRCN 103.9 FM (Chris King, Greg Picker)
This afternoon, the Islanders head to Calgary to take on another red-hot team, the Flames. This is game five of the franchise-record nine game road trip. After coming away with just a single point in Chicago Friday night, when it was under 75 seconds from being two, the Isles are set to battle another streaking team. The Flames have won six straight games, 11-2-1 in their last 14, and are currently occupying the first Wild Card spot in the West.
The Islanders are in a good position right now. Despite the disappointment of losing the lead in fleeting moments of the hockey game, once again, the Isles did manage a huge point. That point puts them one up on Toronto, two on Florida, with a game in hand, and the tiebreaker, on both teams. It really means the Isles have two up on Toronto, and three on Florida. Two points today would be enormous. It would be the biggest lead the team has had all season in the race for the final playoff spot.
After getting last game off, due to some suspect defense, Thomas Hickey will return to the lineup today. Hickey is from the Calgary area and performs quite well when playing his home town. Hickey has five points (3G, 2A) in six games against the Flames. He will take the place of Johnny Boychuk who is battling a sore foot after blocking a shot last game. Also drawing back into the lineup is Scott Mayfield, as the flip-flopping between he and Adam Pelech continues. Assuming Boychuk is back Tuesday, they’ll both likely be scratched.
Thomas Greiss will once again get the start in goal, as Doug Weight sticks with his top netminder. “I look around the league this time of year and you see guys like Braden Holtby, playing 10, 12 in a tow, and I don’t feel differently about Thomas,” Weight told Arthur Staple of Newsday. “He’s our number one goaltender.” With Jean-Francois Berube having let up four goals in each of his last two appearances, as much as Weight may not want to admit it, his confidence has to be with his top guy.
“I’m going with my guy here, and we’re going to ride Thomas for a bit,” he said. As well he should after Greiss looked amazing in Chicago. He stopped 30 shots, 14 in the third period alone to keep the Isles in it, not just allow them to salvage a point. Without his performance, especially in the third, we could be looking at a completely different narrative here.
The Isles come in having won five straight against the Flames. They beat the Flames in Brooklyn, 2-1 in overtime, on November 28th They will go for six in a row when the puck drops at 4 PM.