New York Islanders Vs Detroit Red Wings Pre-Game Report


Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (7-10-3, 17 points) take on the Detroit Red Wings (9-5-6, 24 points) in Game 21 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
When: Saturday, Nov. 16th, 7:00 p.m. EST
Watch: MSG+2 (SD) – Howie Rose, Butch Goring
Listen: 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM WRCN – Chris King

Tickets: NY Islanders tickets

The New York Islanders look to rebound from their latest calamity tonight at home when they face the Detroit Red Wings. With the schedule being truncated last year due to the lockout, these teams obviously did not meet prior to Detroit’s move this season to the Eastern Conference.

It will also mark the first of two meetings within two weeks, both in Long Island. The two teams will meet again the day after Thanksgiving in a 4pm start.

The Islanders, losers in five of their past six games, blew a 2-0 third period lead on Thursday in dropping a 3-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings. With tons of uncertainty surrounding any changes being made, head coach Jack Capuano announced this morning that he is going with the same group of forwards and defensemen, with the only change coming in goal.

Evgeni Nabokov will return between the pipes after Kevin Poulin had started the previous three games. Not at all bad in the loss on Thursday, one has to assume this is nothing more than a rest for Poulin and not an indictment on his play.

What the lack of lineup changes also signify is that Thomas Vanek remains out with a mysterious upper body ailment. Speculation was he would be able to play this evening and that still could happen prior to game time, but the announcement at press time is he will sit out yet again.

On the blue line, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait remain sidelined and are nowhere near a return to the lineup.

For the Red Wings, Mike Babcock’s team have at least one point in eight of their last ten games but have not been able to find the win column lately. At Joe Louis Arena, Detroit is 0-1-6 in their previous seven, including a shootout loss to Washington last night.

Jonas Gustavsson will get the start in place of starter Jimmy Howard. The ex-Maple Leaf comes into the game with 3 wins in 3 starts (4 games) this year, a goals against average of 2.12 and a save percentage of .937, not making the Islanders task of facing a backup goaltender any easier.

Up front, Daniel Alfredsson is considered questionable and will be a game time decision. Only 4 Red Wings players took the optional morning skate at Nassau Coliseum, with the team arriving late from Washington. Gustavsson, Howard, Stephen Weiss and Brendan Smith.

What They’re Saying…

  • “We got two out of (Franzen)… that’s good secondary scoring,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Normally when we’ve gotten any secondary scoring we’ve been able to win the game. I thought that was a positive thing for us. I thought our power play was good too. But we need to find a way to get one more to win the game. That’s the bottom line.” [link]
  • “You’re always frustrated when two points slip away,” coach Jack Capuano said. “The big thing is how we respond. We have to find a way.” [link]
  • Vanek on missing fourth straight game: “I feel good, but not healthy enough where I can go out there and help the team playing.” [link]
  • Vanek:”This is a good team and if you want to be in our lineup, you have to make sure you can help out… I’m not quite there yet.” [link]

Quick Hitters…

  • John Tavares is tied for third place in the NHL scoring race with 23 points (8g/15a). He’s two points off the league
    lead. Frans Nielsen is tied for 11th with 21 points (9g/12a), while Kyle Okposo is tied for 16th place in the league with 20 points
  • The Islanders are 1-8-2 when they allow at least one power play goal and 6-2-1 when they do not.
  • The Isles are 7-1-2 when they score at least three goals and are 0-9-1 when they do not.
  • The Islanders are 91-93-30 under Head Coach Jack Capuano. He ranks second on the Islanders all-time list in both
    games coached (215) and wins (91), behind Al Arbour (1,500 coached, 740 wins).
  • Henrik Zetterberg is T10th in the NHL with 21 points (10-11-21)
  • Pavel Datsyuk is T14th in the NHL with 20 points (9-11-20)
  • Niklas Kronwall is T13th among NHL D with 11 points (1-10-11)

Projected Lineup…

29 Nelson – 91  Tavares – 21  Okposo
96 Bouchard – 51  Nielsen – 12  Bailey
40  Grabner – 16  Regin – 13  McDonald
17  Martin –-53  Cizikas – 15  Clutterbuck

47  MacDonald – 3  Hamonic
14  Hickey -46  Donovan
55  Ness -7  Carkner

20 Nabokov
60 Poulin

Scratches: 4 Martinek, 26 Vanek, 36 Boulton
Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 37 Strait

Mike Willhoft (@michaelwillhoft) is covering the game for Eyes on Isles from the press box. Follow him for updates throughout the contest.