Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report
Tonight, the New York Islanders (9 -19-5, 23 points) take on the Montreal Canadiens 19 – 11 – 3 (41 points) in game number 34 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
When: Saturday, December 14th, 2013, 7PM
TV: MSG+2 (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)
Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)
Opposition Blog : A Winning Habit
Tickets: NY Islanders tickets
Well, we finally made it back home. The Islanders survived (kinda) their toughest road trip of the entire season, playing five straight games against teams in the Western Conference, including three straight games against California opponents.
The Islanders’ road trip was an eventful one. During the trip, winger Pierre Marc Bouchard was placed on waivers. Bouchard, who hasn’t had a terrible season, recorded 9 points in 28 games with the Islanders.
Taking Bouchard’s place on the roster will be Ryan Strome. Strome has absolutely dominated the AHL, leading the league in scoring while he was still a member of hockey’s best developmental league. Strome traveled with the team in the latter portion of the road trip, but didn’t make his professional debut during the road trip.
However, Strome will be in the lineup tonight, playing on the team’s third line. The move came as a surprise, as many thought he would be a top six forward upon his arrival. However, I’m sure many fans are just happy to see him up with the team at this point, so as long as he isn’t playing on the team’s fourth line, the coaching staff made a good decision. Strome will be given plenty of opportunity to score tonight, as coach Jack Capuano announced that Strome will be seeing time on the Islanders’ second unit of the man advantage.
More friendly faces will be in the lineup tonight, as Evgeni Nabokov will be making his first start since injuring his groin in a November game against the Detroit Red Wings. Nabokov is one of the great locker room presences the Islanders have, so his addition to the team is great.
However, Islanders fan favorite Casey Cizikas will not be playing tonight after injuring his jaw Thursday against Phoenix. No official statement has been made regarding Cizikas’ condition.
As for the Montreal Canadiens, Carey Price will be making his 27th start of the season for his team. Price has been very impressive this year, boasting a strong SV% of .933 and a GAA of 2.08, very impressive numbers.
As always, the Montreal fan base will be present tonight at the Coliseum, chanting their chants and cheering their team on. Montreal has lost three consecutive games, so hopefully their teams recent struggles won’t give their loyal fans much to cheer about.
So with that said, tonight is going to be a memorable night for some of the Islanders’ young, up-and-coming players, and it will be fun to watch. Tonight’s game may be a bit sloppy, given both team’s recent struggles. Despite the solid goaltending Montreal possesses, don’t be shocked if the Islanders light the lamp a few times tonight.
It’s always good to start a “New York” stand (the Islanders will be in Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers this upcoming Friday), and hopefully the Islanders can get a positive streak of their own started.
What They’re Saying
“He’s a special player. He’s one of the best players in the NHL, and you always have to pay particular attention to a player like that when he’s on the ice,” said Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien on the subject of Islanders superstar John Tavares. (link)
“I know what our record is, but it’s not like we’re getting dominated in these games,” coach Jack Capuano remarked during an interview on the Islanders’ recent road trip. (link)
“I feel like the carrot’s been dangling in front of me for a little while now, especially this last week. I’m eager to get out here and get to puck drop.” Ryan Strome said during today’s morning skate (link)
- Evgeni Nabokov has a 7-3-0 all time record against Montreal
- John Tavares is currently 5th in the league in scoring with 37 points
- John Tavares (2g/3a) and Thomas Vanek (2g/2a) are each on three-game point streaks.
- The Islanders are 9-3-2 when they score at least three goals and are 0-16-3 when they do not.
- Andrew MacDonald leads the NHL with 110 blocked shots.
26 Vanek – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
40 Grabner – 51 Nielsen – 12 Bailey
29 Nelson – 18 Strome– 15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin – 16 Regin – 13 McDonald
44 deHaan – 3 Hamonic
14 Hickey – 47 MacDonald
55 Ness – 37 Strait
Scratches : 4 Martinek, 36 Boulton, 7 Carkner
Injured Reserve : 11 Visnovsky