Pregame Report: New York Islanders vs. Nashville Predators


Tonight, the New York Islanders (2-1-1, 5 pts) visit the Nashville Predators (1-3-0, 2 pts) in game no. 5  of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

When: Saturday, October 12, 8PM EDT

Watch: MSG+

Listen: WRHU (88.7 FM)

Tonight, the Isles look to bounce back from their first regulation loss of the season, as they roll into Nashville to face the Predators.

Kevin Poulin and the Isles lost a tough one last night, 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks. After falling behind 2-0 midway through the first period, the Isles got a sudden jump in their step. Goals by Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey just 49 seconds apart at the end of the period, tied the game at 2. However, Michal Handzus  put an end to thoughts of a huge win, when he scored the eventual game winning goal 6:45 into the second period.

Aside from Evgeni Nabokov being back in net this evening, line changes may be forthcoming. After last night’s game, Coach Jack Capuano said changes were likely. There are 2 reasons why that may be a good idea. First, there was Cal Clutterbuck, who  played his first game as an Islander last night, but was hardly effective. He registered just 8:35 of play. He even stated after the game that he was pretty winded. It’s very possible that he may need a few more days to get back into game shape. Secondly, there was Matt Donovan, who looked every bit the rookie last night. He was beaten badly many times and even took some unneeded penalties. The NHL learning curve can be steep sometimes and he may need to check things out from above this evening.

The Isles have actually not played in Nashville in almost 3 years. The last game they had there was in December 2010, when they were shutout 5-0 by Anders Lindback. They will clearly be looking for different results tonight as Michael Grabner, who is tied for the league lead in points, looks to continue his hot start.

What They’re Saying…

“I expect a hard-working team. They’re very structured. We watched them play Toronto the other night, and not taking anything away from Toronto, but that could have gone the other way for sure.  Bernier had a great game. They come hard, so we’re going to have to make sure that we play high-percentage hockey in all three zones.”

-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, on what he expects from the Predators

Quick Hitters…

  •  Nashville holds a 10-3-2 edge in the all-time series against the Islanders, and has points in all nine games since the start of the 2002-03 campaign, posting a 7-0-2 record. The Predators are 6-2-0 all-time against the Islanders at Bridgestone Arena.
  • Josh Bailey has goals in two consecutive games, and four multi-point efforts in his last 14 games.
  • John Tavares has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 games after being held scoreless on opening night.
  • Evgeni Nabokov is 14-8-3 with two shutouts and a 2.26 GAA in his career against Nashville.
  • Pekka Rinne is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage for his career against the Islanders
  • Jack Capuano will coach his 200th NHL game tonight. He is second in Islanders history. He trails Al Arbour by 1300 games.