The New York Islanders (4-3-3, 11pts) return to the Nassau Coliseum to kick off a two-game homestand, beginning tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (2-7-o, 4pts).
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013, 7:00PM
TV: MSG+ (HD). Howie Rose (Play-by-Play), Butch Goring (Color Commentary)
Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN–Chris King with the call.
The Islanders have little time to savor an impressive, come-from-behind, 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh last night as another division rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, come to town for the teams’ first meeting this season.
Don’t let the four points through nine games fool you, the Flyers will always provide a test for the Islanders, though this is a team in turmoil. After losing its first three games this year, the Flyers fired head coach Peter Laviolette and replaced him with Craig Berube.
The team has been 2-4 since the coaching change, but scoring has been hard to find. Left winger Tye McGinn leads the team with three goals and the Flyers have put the puck in the back of the net just 13 times.
The Islanders on the other hand, have scored 14 goals in their last four games and bring in a power play that is ranked first in the league (30.3%). Matt Moulson, who scored on the man advantage last night, leads the NHL with five power play goals.
The defense, who has given up three or more goals in six of its last 10 games will look to prove its worth against a team that is ranked second to last in the league in scoring. They are allowing 2.90 goals per game, tenth in the league.
After 10 games, John Tavares is playing second fiddle in the stat department to none other than…Frans Nielsen? The Danish wonder leads the team with six goals, eight assists and 14 points as he and the captain are steering an offense ranked sixth in the league with 3.20 goals per game.
Kevin Poulin will start in goal for the second time this season. His first start was a 3-2 loss against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
With Michael Grabner’s two-game suspension up after his hit to the head of Carolina’s Nathan Gerbe last Saturday, Brock Nelson will make way for the Austrian winger. Eric Boulton will make his second appearance of the season as the Islanders sit Colin McDonald.
What They’re Saying
“It’s always satisfying [to win] against a divisional rival and a great team like Pittsburgh, and maybe a little bit added because of the playoffs, but it’s just one regular season win. We’ll see if we can build some momentum.”
- Islanders LW Josh Bailey
“Obviously [Poulin] has worked hard and paid his dues. I’ve definitely liked his work ethic over the past couple of weeks. He played well in Chicago, really gave us a chance to win that game. He made some big saves at some big times and gave us an opportunity to win that game.”
-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano
“Some nights the opponent is going to have a step on you and put more pucks to the net, or you’ll take more penalties. But as the game went along, we felt like we could score a goal, be right back in the game and then turn the table on them. We didn’t quit. We put the puck at the net and good things happened.”
-Islanders G Evgeni Nabokov
“My priority was to stay in North America, so I didn’t really think about other choices. It was a chance for me I guess.”
-Islanders D Radek Martinek
- Scoring his sixth goal of the year last night, Frans Nielsen has lit the lamp as many times as last season.
- Evgeni Nabokov’s 39 saves against Pittsburgh was the first time this season he has made over 35 saves. The last time he saved 35 or more was 3/7/13 in a loss to the Rangers.
- The Islanders have scored three or more goals in seven games this season. They have won four of them.
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored his first goal as an Islanders in the third period to tie the game in Pittsburgh. It’s his first goal in the regular season since 4/27/13, the last game of the season against Colorado.
26 Moulson – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
12 Bailey– 51 Nielsen – 96 Bouchard
40 Grabner – 16 Regin – 15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin – 53 Cizikas – 36 Boulton
47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic
4 Martinek– 14 Hickey
7 Carkner – 46 Donovan
Scratches: 29 – Nelson, 13 – McDonald
Injured Reserve: 11- Visnovsky, 37- Strait