Preview: Oilers at Islanders
Another playoff miss led to a change behind the bench for the Edmonton Oilers, who have started off on a positive note under new coach Dave Tippett by winning a pair of one-goal decisions at home. The Oilers will get a better barometer of where they stand with an upcoming four-game road trip that begins with a visit to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Edmonton will play three consecutive Metropolitan Division foes over the next five days, squaring off with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers before winding up the trek in Chicago. "New York is something special because of everything that comes with being there," Oilers netminder Mike Smith said. "It's a trip you circle on your calendar." The Islanders dropped a 2-1 decision to visiting Washington in their season opener but bounced back 48 hours later with a 4-1 victory over Winnipeg. "You're getting production through the lineup; everybody feels they have a little bit of a role," said coach Barry Trotz, who moved past Al Albour for third on the all-time list with 1,608 games behind the bench.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Oilers, MSG-Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE OILERS (2-0-0): Given the lack of scoring depth behind captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton acquired James Neal from Calgary in exchange for Milan Lucic. After notching at least 20 goals in 10 straight seasons, Neal was limited to seven tallies last season with the Flames, but he struck twice on the power play Saturday night. "I put pressure on myself every year to score goals," Neal said. "I feel like if you want to be a top guy, if you want to be a goal scorer, you're going to have that pressure. That's good pressure."
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (1-1-0): Despite a season in 2018-19 in which he posted career bests of a 2.28 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, Thomas Greiss found himself on the bench in favor of newcomer Semyon Varlamov in the season opener. The 33-year-old German responded by turning aside 35 of 36 shots to fluster Winnipeg's potent attack. "The great thing about both of those guys is there's not a selfish bone in their bodies," Trotz said. "They have a great relationship and it's one that will continue to grow."
1. New York is 10-0-2 in its last 12 home games versus Edmonton.
2. McDavid has four goals and seven points in eight games versus New York.
3. Islanders F Josh Bailey will become the sixth player in franchise history to appear in 800 games on Tuesday night.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Oilers 3