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Three key questions for the Islanders ahead of NHL's return to play

Adam Pelech skates during an Islanders Phase 2

Adam Pelech skates during an Islanders Phase 2 workout on Monday at the Northwell Health Ice Center. Credit: New York Islanders

1. How well will Adam Pelech/Casey Cizikas perform? The Islanders struggled  without these two important pieces in the lineup. They need Pelech, whose defensive stickwork might be the best on the team, to resume his role as a shutdown, top-pair defenseman as he returns from an Achilles tendon injury. Cizikas’ fourth line with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck set the tone for the team’s play.

2. Which goalie stands out? Goaltending typically is the most crucial factor in any long playoff run and will be even more important in a best-of-five qualifying series. Either Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss must stake a claim as a No. 1.

3. Will there be a camp surprise? There will be opportunities for younger players such as Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom to earn a spot on the expanded roster.

New York Sports