Oct 4, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20) makes a save during the third period against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The Islanders defeated the Devils 4-3 in an overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame Report: Phoenix Coyotes vs. New York Islanders


 

Tonight, the New York Islanders (1-0-1, 3 pts) host the Phoenix Coyotes (1-1-0, 2 pts) in game no. 3 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

 

Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

When: Tuesday Oct. 8th, 7:00 p.m. EST

Watch: MSG+

Tickets: Islanders tickets

Listen: WRHU 88.7FM, WRCN 103.9FM

Twitter: #Isles and #Coyotes

 

The Isles have taken 3-of-4 possible points in their first two games of the season, both of which needed more than 65 minutes of game time to decide. Friday night’s season opener was a 4-3 SO win over the New Jersey Devils, while Saturday night’s home opener was a 3-2 SO loss to the—now Eastern Conference member—Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Coyotes sit at .500 after winning their first game at home over the New York Rangers 4-1 and losing their second game on the road by the same score to their Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks.

Both teams haven’t played a game since Saturday night, meaning the players will be well-rested for tonight’s matchup. Because of last year’s lockout, this will be Phoenix’s first trip to the east coast since the 2011-12 season.

Cal Clutterbuck will not make his regular season debut tonight, as was widely speculated after he practiced without a non-contact jersey Monday for the first time since suffering a thigh laceration during the preseason. Clutterbuck was acquired from the Minnesota Wild on June 30 in exchange for former Isles prospect Nino Niederreiter.

For the Coyotes, Radim Vrbata leads the team in goals and points (3) on the strength of his Opening Night natural hat trick against the Rangers. Martin Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson—two points each—are tied for second on the team in scoring. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith has stopped 70-of-74 shots in his team’s first two games.

 

What They’re Saying…

We got three out of four points, but we have to be doing whatever it takes. Keep showing a willingness to compete. For the most part we did, but the guys have to learn that you have to play hard every shift.

–Islanders head coach Jack Capuano on his team’s intensity after the game against Columbus

We stopped making plays and we couldn’t get out of our own zone. We stopped playing hockey. We have to be better than that. We let them have the extra opportunities a lot.

–Coyotes captain Shane Doan, on Phoenix’s effort in the loss to San Jose

 

Quick Hitters…

  • Tonight’s game is the Islanders’ first against a Western Conference opponent since Apr. 7, 2012
  • Each the Islanders’ last six games (dating back to last season) have been one-goal games
  • Frans Nielsen is three points shy of 200 for his career

 

Projected Lineup…

26 Moulson – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
12 Bailey – 51 Nielsen – 40 Grabner
29 Nelson – 16 Regin – 96 Bouchard
17 Martin – 53 Cizikas – 13 McDonald

47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic
11 Visnovsky – 14 Hickey
37 Strait – 46 Donovan

20 Nabokov
60 Poulin

Scratches: 36 Boulton, 7 Carkner, 8 Reinhart
IR: 15 Clutterbuck

 

(Rich Dias-Rodrigues (@RDNHL) will be covering the game live from the press box.)

 

Tags: 2013-14 NHL Season Cal Clutterbuck Jack Capuano Martin Hanzal Mike Smith New York Islanders Nhl Puck Drop Oliver Ekman-Larsson Radim Vrbata Shane Doan