Colorado Avalanche Vs New York Islanders: Pre-Game Report

 Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (22-29-8, 50 Points) host the Colorado Avalanche (36-16-5, 77Points) in game no. 60of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

When:  Saturday, February 8th, 2014, 7PM

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)

Opposition Blog: Mile High Sticking

Tickets:   New York Islanders Tickets

The Islanders shot themselves in the foot on Thursday night by losing to one of the league’s bottom feeders in the Calgary Flames. The Islanders did themselves no favor by not winning a game in 15 tries in November. However, they have had every chance in the world to come out of it. Forget the stolen loss to the Blues. That’s one point. Even though the loss to the Flames was pretty ridiculous because Evgeni Nabokov was interfered with as the puck entered the net, they still had every shot to win. So being 12 points out and with other teams having games in hand, there is no one to blame but the Isles themselves.  Even though they have no realistic shot at the playoffs, they must still play the 23 games.

So, tonight the Isles take on the Avalanche who have leaped stories above the Islanders since being at the bottom of the league in after the 2008-09 season. If you recall, the Islanders selected some guy named John Tavares 1st that year. Wonder what ever happened to him? Selected 3rd was Matt Duchene. In the now 5 years since that draft, the Avs have climbed towards the top of the league. The Islanders? Still hanging out near the bottom, collecting those ever important draft picks.

Speaking of draft picks, this is the first game the Islanders will play without their heart & soul-Peter Regin. Yes, before yesterday’s roster freeze Pete the Puck Prince was dealt to Chicago along with another Islanders stalwart, Pierre-Marc Bouchard for a bag of pucks, tickets to the Blackhawks playoff games and a 4th round pick.

This is mercifully the last game before the Olympic break. John Tavares will be going to represent Team Canada, where he will continue to be under appreciated and probably relegated to the third line. Kyle Okposo, who SHOULD be there, will be at home with his wife and newborn baby. May he rest up and enjoy the rare time off that he has. He has certainly become the type of team guy, and star we have been hoping for. Josh Bailey? Not so much. But let’s give the guy some time. I am not ready to give up on him yet.

Late update: To make room for Travis Hamonic, Matt Donovan was loaned to Bridgeport. He will now be able to play throughout the Olympic break.

What They’re Saying

Everyone wants to get back quickly when you’re injured, but we weren’t going to be stupid about it. There are precautions that you have to take when you have an upper-body injury; it’s just the way things go. It’s nice that I can get a chance to play before the break and then rest and remain healthy [during the break] so when we come back we can hit the ground running help the team win.

-Islanders Defenseman Travis Hamonic on returning from injury.

He wanted to play the last game and he could have played the last game, but we [wanted to give him] three extra days [of practice]. He wanted to get in the last game and we would never put anyone in that situation. He’s ready to go… He’s 100%… He’s conditioned hard, he’s battled hard. We’re not afraid to use him in any situation tonight.

-Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano on Travis Hamonic‘s return

He’s got a great personality; he’s a great guy in the locker room. He’s very upbeat and he’s got a great skill set. He overcame a lot to finally make it in the NHL, so I’m happy to see him doing well. I know he’s looking forward to returning tonight and he’s always been a motivated guy to, so I’m sure he’s going to come out hard.

-Islanders Captain John Tavares on P.A. Parenteau‘s return

I’m really grateful for what Snowy and Jack did for me in my first year there. It’s something I’ll never forget. It pretty much put me on the map, I’ll be grateful for. It was two great years, I got to play with really great players and it was an awesome time.

-P.A. Parenteau on facing his former team.

Quick Hitters

  • P.A. Parenteau makes his return to the Coliseum after signing with the Avs in 2012.
  • Travis Hamonic returns from his concussion after missing 12 games.
  • The Islanders do not play again until February 19th.
  • The Islanders are 8-0-1-2 (one tie, two overtime losses) in their last 11 games against the Avalanche.
  • Evgeni Nabokov will make his fifth consecutive start for the Islanders.
  • Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start for the Avalanche tonight. Giguere is 8-4-0-2 in 14 games this season.
  • Matt Duchene leads the Avs with 48 points (17G/31A) in 54 games, while captain Gabriel Landeskog is second with 46 points (17G/29A).
  • Cal Clutterbuck is slated to play his 400th career game tonight, while Colin McDonald hits the century mark.

Projected Lineup

Forwards
26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
12 Josh Bailey – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas – 17 Matt Martin

Defensemen

37 Brian Strait – 47 Andrew MacDonald
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
44 Calvin de Haan –3 Travis Hamonic

Goaltenders
20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin

Scratches
7 Matt Carkner,
36 Eric Boulton


Topics: 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Islanders, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Matt Donovan, PA Parenteau, Travis Hamonic

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