The big story going into tonight's preseason game against the Islanders is of course the Jordan Staal injury, what is now known to be a broken bone in his lower right leg. Beyond that the severity and expected recovery timeframe is undetermined. Jordan Staal isn't the kind of player a team can just replace outright. He is counted on for too many minutes in too many situations to have his role accommodated fully by any one roster player. That being said, the preseason just took on even more significance in terms of player auditions. Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask are getting the 1-2 call down the middle. Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk will reunite as a veteran defensive presence. Drew MacIntyre and Anton Khudobin practiced with the game squad, and MacIntyre is scheduled to start tonight, but no word as to whether he and Dobby will split time in net.
Tonight's line-up (per Canes twitter):
Jeff Skinner - Elias Lindholm - Jiri Tlusty
Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Zach Boychuk
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Brown
Brock McGinn - Ben Holmstrom - Phil DiGiuseppe
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Jay Harrison - Ryan Murphy
Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore
The Islanders opened their season on Monday night with not one, but two, 3-2 wins against the Senators, playing a split-squad doubleheader in St. Johns, Newfoundland. Tonight's lineup features a veteran group and plenty of firepower with John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Mikhail Grabovski all scheduled to play. Jaroslav Halak gets the start.
Isles Roster (per team website):
- Forwards - Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, Ryan Strome, Jack Skille, Kyle Okposo, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen, Casey Cizikas, Brett Gallant, Mikhail Grabovski, Cory Conacher, John Tavares
- Defensemen - TJ Brennan, Griffin Reinhart, Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Hickey, Ville Pokka, Aaron Ness
- Goaltenders - Jaroslav Halak, Kevin Poulin