New York Islanders vs Phoenix Coyotes: Pre-Game Report


Eyes On Isles Pregame Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (9-18-5, 23 Points) visit the Phoenix Coyotes (17-8-5, 39 Points) in game no. 33 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Jobing.Com Arena, Glendale, AZ

When: Thursday, December 12th, 2013, 9PM

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

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

Opposition Blog: Howlin Hockey

Tickets:   New York Islanders Tickets

Tonight, the Islanders look to build off their surprising comeback victory against the Sharks on Tuesday night. Kevin Poulin will again be in net after he stole the game for the Islanders. The problems are still there. They are still glaring. They did not just go away. However, another strong performance by the team, and they will have something to build on. The team needs anything to give them a spark. They sit only 9  points out of the playoffs with more than half the season still left to play. Amazingly enough, despite their poor play, they can still turn it around. The special teams must improve, and they have to win a game when scoring less than 3 goals. That is something they have yet to accomplish.

As for Jack Capuano, his seat is warm, not hot. Despite 1 win in 11 games, all indications are that he is here for the foreseeable future. So, even if they aren’t playing for the coach, which they clearly are not, they have a goal; get back in the playoff picture. Get back to relevance. Play for yourselves, play for the crest on your jersey.

As for the new Golden Boy, Ryan Strome, he will not be suiting up tonight. He is with the team in Phoenix, but he has not had enough time to practice with the team. So, he will watch from the Press Box. Chances are we get to see him make his highly touted NHL debut on Saturday night.

The Coyotes are another tough team that the Islanders have to contend with on the road. Phoenix is 9-2-2 at home, which is not exactly music to the ears of the Islanders. However, the Islanders must attack the Coyotes and take the play to them if they are to have any chance. The Islanders have to use the Power Play to their advantage as well, as Phoenix is 27th on the PK.

Brian Strait will return from IR this evening and will be partnered with Aaron Ness. Evgeni Nabokov will also be back with the team, and will backup Kevin Poulin.

What They’re Saying

“To stick with it all game – and be down 2-0 to a good hockey team in the third period and get a win – it’s big for our club.”

Islanders Forward Kyle Okposo on Tuesday’s win in San Jose:

“He’s back to 100 percent healthy, he said, so Mike Smith will start,”

-Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett

“That was a tough point in the season for us, we didn’t get out to a good start and we weren’t playing our game, but I think we definitely remember that. They gave it to us in their building. It will be nice to have a strong game against them tonight.”

-Coyotes Forward Rob Klinkhammer

“We just want to get him acclimated to our meetings. I want to get him involved in our power play, but I’m sure you can expect him pretty soon.”

-Islanders Coach Jack Capuano on Ryan Strome

“It was a great phone call to get and I will remember it forever. At the same time there is a lot of work to be done, and I don’t want to just come up for a cup of coffee. I want to show that I belong, help the team win and prove my spot in the line-up. I want to show them that I’m ready to come up and they made the right choice.”

-Islanders rookie Forward Ryan Strome

Quick Hitters

  • The Coyotes are 9-2-2 at home this season.
  • Brian Strait & Evgeni Nabokov have been activated off IR
  • Anders Nilsson has been returned to Bridgeport
  • The Isles will look to win back to back games for the first time in more than a month
  • Shane Doan will miss his 3rd straight game with the flu.
  • The Coyotes are 13-2-1 and rank 9th in the league with an .813 winning% when scoring first

Projected Lineup

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

47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey
3 Travis Hamonic – 44 Calvin de Haan
55 Aaron Ness – 37 Brian Strait

60 Kevin Poulin

20 Evgeni Nabokov

Scratches 16 Peter Regin, Ryan Strome

Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 4 Martinek,