EYES ON ISLES PRE-GAME REPORT
Today, the New York Islanders (21-25-8, 50 pts) play host to the Boston Bruins (32-15-3, 67 pts) in game no. 55 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
When: Monday Jan. 27th, 7:00 p.m. EST
Listen: 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM WRC
One game fresh off the terrible call on Thomas Vanek that cost the Islanders a win, the team is probably pretty frustrated right now. They played their hearts out against a good St. Louis Blues team, and were flat-out robbed of a crucial 2 points, and having to settle for one.
The optimist in me says that play is a season-changer, and the Islanders will play an entire 60 minute game for the rest of the season, and not just showing up for parts and playing dead for others. The realist in me says the Vanek play is just frustrating, and it’s just time to move on. Truly, it is, what happened is what happened. The NHL’s “War Room” screwed up, and that’s that. The team, and especially us, the fans, need to move on from that play.
And there is reason to be excited about the Islanders, as big news hit surrounding the team’s roster. Lubomir Visnovsky will make his return tonight after missing roughly the entire season thus far with a concussion sustained in mid-October in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Visnovsky will go back to his regular duties on the power play, thus (hopefully) ending the Andrew MacDonald power play era.
In exchange for Visnovsky, the Islanders decided to send Matt Donovan down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.The move is a bit of a head-scratcher, as Donovan certainly has performed better than some current Islander defenseman. The move can’t really help Donovan’s mindset either, as bouncing around from the big league to the development league can damage his confidence.
More roster news hit the team today, as goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was reactivated of the IR today. Nabokov was participating in today’s practice, but Kevin Poulin will be getting the start for the team tonight. There have been reports that Nabokov will be starting in Wednesday’s continuation of the Coors Light Stadium Series against the New York Rangers, and that seems to be the most likely scenario.
As inferred by many, Anders Nilsson was recalled to Bridgeport, where he will likely finish the season, unless another goaltending injury manifests. Nilsson see much activity in his second stint in the NHL this season, starting only one game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a game the Islanders won in a shootout.
As for Boston, Chad Johnson will be making the start in net. The Islanders defeated Chad Johnson the only time he faced the Islanders this season by a score of 3-1. The 27-year-old has had a very strong season backing up Tuukka Rask, posting a .918 SV% and a 2.24 GAA in 26 games played this season.
With that said, the Islanders and the Bruins had a high-scoring affair on New Year’s Eve, and I expect to see the same thing tonight. The game should also feature plenty of physicality by each side, and it will certainly be fun to watch.
What They’re Saying…
- He (Visnovsky) has been skating for a long time. We wouldn’t want to put him into a situation where we’d put him in any doubt.”- Islanders Coach Jack Capuano after Saturday’s tough loss against St. Louis.
- I think we all know what a kicking motion is. My skate never elevated, it was on the ice the whole time. I don’t know if it’s because who we are. I think if that’s Pittsburgh or some of those top teams, it’s maybe a goal.” -Thomas Vanek after his goal was taken away in OT of Saturday’s game.
- Kyle Okposo surpassed his previous career high of 52 pionts Saturday vs. St. Louis with a goal and an assist (54 points)
- The Isles are 10-4-1 in their last 15 games. They’ve gone 9-2-0 in their last 11 road games
- The Islanders have rallied from a two-goal deficit to win an NHL-leading eight times this season
- John Tavares needs 17 goals in 27 games to score 40 this season
- The Islanders are 2-0 against Boston this season
26 Vanek – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
16 Regin – 51 Nielsen – 12 Bailey
40 Grabner – 29 Nelson – 15 Clutterbuck
13 McDonald – 53 Cizikas – 17 Martin
47 MacDonald – 37 Strait
14 Hickey – 44 de Haan
11 Visnovsky – 7 Carkner
Scratches: 3 Hamonic, 4 Martinek, 36 Boulton