Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report
Tonight, the New York Islanders (9 -19 – 7, 25 points) take on the New York Rangers (16 – 17 – 2, 34 points) in game number 36 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: Friday, December 20th, 2013, 7PM EST
TV: MSG+2 (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)
Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)
Opposition Blog : Blue Line Station
Well, we finally made it. Happy Friday everyone! Fridays are of course the best day of the week, and are even better when our beloved New York Islanders are playing.
And they are playing the rival New York Rangers? What a day, what a day.
Tonight’s game is a pretty important one for the Islanders. It hasn’t been in the desired fashion, but the Islanders have made some progress in the Metropolitan Division, with two straight overtime losses. While yes, that is surprising granted the Islanders lose yet cover some ground, but they are where they are, currently 10 points out of the third spot in the Metropolitan Division; it’s better than 12 points out.
Tonight is a chance for the Islanders to make cover even more ground against a division rival. It doesn’t take much to get the Islanders as a team fired up to play the Rangers, and I’m sure we will se our fair share of physicality tonight at The Garden.
For us Islanders fans, we can breath a huge sigh of relief now that Casey Cizikas is back and will be playing tonight after a jaw injury. He will be wearing additional protection around his jaw and mouth, but to have a player like him back is very good news for the Islanders.
As expected, Peter Regin will be scratched tonight as Cizikas comes back into the lineup. It looks like Regin’s time came to an inevitable end, he was just lucky that he got to play a few more games amidst injury troubles for other members of the team.
More news for tonight’s lineup, Evgeni Nabokov will be in goal tonight for the Islanders. Nabokov has played well since his return Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, and hopefully he will continue his solid play tonight in a very important game.
As for the Rangers, the million(s) dollar man Henrik Lundqvist will be making the start in between the pipes. Lundqvist, a world class goaltender who has been relatively good against the Islanders should as always be a thorn in opposing team’s sides with his superior skill in net.
So with that said, expecting a gritty, hard fought game by both teams tonight. One goal could very well make the difference, so expect high levels of intensity for tonight’s game.
What They’re Saying
- “Having him (Nabokov) and his voice in our room is an extension of the coaching staff,” coach Jack Capuano said. Nabokov’s leadership and mindset are two intangible values Nabokov brings to this young Islanders team.
- “We’re frustrated as Hell,” John Tavares simply put amidst the Islanders inability to come away with wins.
- “We can’t figure out how to win,” remarks Evgeni Nabokov following Tuesday’s tough loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- John Tavares is currently 5th in the league in scoring
- The Islanders are 9-3-2 when they score at least 3 goals, and are 0-16-5 when they don’t
- The Islanders are 93-102-34 under Jack Capuano
- Andrew MacDnald leads the league in blocked shots
- Matt Martin leads the league in hits
26 Vanek – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
40 Grabner – 51 Nielsen – 12 Bailey
29 Nelson – 18 Strome– 15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin – 53 Cizikas – 36 Boulton
44 deHaan – 3 Hamonic
14 Hickey – 47 MacDonald
7 Carkner – 37 Strait
Scratches: 16 Regin, 55 Ness, 13 McDonald
Injured Reserve : 4 Martinek, 11 Visnovsky