The Minnesota Wild received just the offensive jolt they were seeking from their prize offseason acquisitions in Saturday’s season-opening victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The New York Islanders wish they could say the same about their fleet of young forwards, who turned in a surprisingly lackadaisical effort in an opening-night home loss to the Florida Panthers. New York will need to upgrade its performance when Minnesota visits the Nassau Coliseum on Monday night. Despite playing in front of a sellout crowd, the Islanders managed only eight shots in the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s 2-0 loss against a Florida squad that finished last in the Eastern Conference last season. The Wild, on the other hand, got one goal apiece from Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in the 4-2 win over Columbus. Heatley and Setoguchi were brought in to spark a punchless offense that produced 206 goals last season – second worst in the Western Conference.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FSNO (Minnesota), MSG+ (New York)
ABOUT THE WILD (1-0-0): Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves to help coach Mike Yeo earn his first career NHL victory. Backstrom is 4-1 in five career starts against the Islanders. Minnesota will be shorthanded after forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard was suspended for two games on Sunday following his hit to the mouth of Columbus wing Matt Calvert. He will be eligible to return for Thursday’s game vs. Edmonton. Bouchard had two assists against the Blue Jackets.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (0-1-0): New York made a surprising decision to give Al Montoya the start in net over oft-injured and former No. 1 pick Rick DiPietro. Montoya had never even been in uniform for a season opener. CaptainMark Streit, who sat out all last season due to shoulder surgery, played a team-high 24 minutes, 58 seconds. Brian Rolston and Matt Martin were two of the few players to show up with five shots each.
1. Matt Cullen scored 70 seconds into Saturday’s game against Columbus, the quickest season-opening goal in Wild history.
2. The Islanders were shut out in their home opener for only the fourth time in franchise history.
3. New York had lost five straight to Minnesota prior to a 4-1 home win on March 2.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Wild 3. After Saturday’s lethargic effort, New York makes amends by edging visiting Minnesota.