The Florida Panthers are back in Sunrise and home is where the wins have come not only this season but the last one as well. Meanwhile, the New York Islanders may feel like Del Griffith in the classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
“I haven’t been home in years,” John Candy’s beloved character laments.
It may feel like that for an Islanders team which continues a season-long road trip Tuesday night at FLA Live Arena.
Due to the construction of their new home at Belmont Park, the Islanders started this season on a 13-game road trip.
It finally comes to a close tonight in Sunrise.
The highly-anticipated opener at Belmont Park is Saturday night against the Calgary Flames.
The Islanders, a team considered one of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division, have only won five of their first 12 games this season after losing Monday night in Tampa.
New York is making its second trip to Sunrise before playing at home, having lost 5-1 back on Oct. 16 when Sam Bennett got a hat trick and Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves.
Florida has done a lot of winning at home lately and hope that continues Tuesday as the team tries to snap a four-game slide.
The Panthers are 7-0 on home ice this season and have won their past 11 regular season games in Sunrise dating to last April.
“We are used to the bounces, we’re used to our ice,” Radko Gudas said. “We know what to expect and love playing in front of our fans. … it’s huge for us to have a home advantage and that pushes us to have that at the end of the year in the playoffs. We love it here.”
Added Andrew Brunette: “Since I have been here, we have played really well at home. Asides from that, there isn’t much to it. We play well at home and we hope to keep it going.”
— Although Joe Thornton practiced again Monday, Brunette said that he wouldn’t play Tuesday.
Florida is not rushing Thornton back in the lineup — not even close.
Thornton has not played since Oct. 29 in Detroit.
“We are making sure he is 110 percent because we have had some on-and-off things with him,” Brunette said. “We want to make sure he’s ready to go. We haven’t had a lot of practice time so we’ll get him into a few and perhaps by the end of the week he will be ready to go. …
“We would love to have him in the lineup, but he came in and got hurt. It’s a long year. We want him at the top of his game when we need him most.”
— Brunette said Bobrovsky (6-0-2) would start his third consecutive game.
— Anthony Duclair did not practice Monday but Brunette said it was simply a maintenance day.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: ESPN+ / Hulu
- RADIO: 790-AM The Ticket
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: Florida 5, Islanders 1 (Oct. 15)
- All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 73-48-17, 10 ties
- Odds via BetMGM: Florida (PL -1.5 +155) — (ML -165) — U/O 5.5
- Up next: New Jersey at Florida, Thursday, 7; Calgary at Islanders (UBS Arena opener), Saturday, 7
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 15 Anton Lundell // 74 Owen Tippett
92 Maxim Mamin // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
62 Brandon Montour // 44 Kevin Connauton
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Ryan Lomberg, Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Noel Acciari (IR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Joe Thornton (IR), Markus Nutivaara (IR), Mason Marchment (IR)
PROJECTED NEW YORK ISLANDERS LINEUP
27 Anders Lee // 13 Mathew Barzal // 11 Zach Parise
18 Anthony Beauvillier // 29 Brock Nelson // 21 Kyle Palmieri
20 Kieffer Bellows // 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau // 12 Josh Bailey
17 Matt Martin // 15 Cal Clutterbuck // 26 Oliver Wahlstrom
33 Zdeno Chara // 6 Ryan Pulock
3 Adam Pelech // 24 Scott Mayfield
28 Sebastian Aho // 4 Andy Greene
30 Ilya Sorokin
40 Semyon Varlamov