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Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report
Tonight, the New York Islanders (22-28-8, 52 Points) host the Calgary Flames (21-28-7, 49 Points) in game no. 59 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
When: Thursday, February 6, 7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus (Play by play : Howie Rose, Color : Butch Goring)
Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)
Opposition Blog: Flame For Thought
An interesting game (which sometimes means boring) is set to unfold this evening when the New York Islanders take on the Calgary Flames for the first time since December 2011. The Flames have the second fewest road wins in the entire league and the Islanders the fewest home wins of all teams.
New York has lost 5 of their past 6 games, including 4 in a row at home. Their lone victory was, of course, on the road in Washington on Tuesday evening as Evgeni Nabokov shut out Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 1-0 behind a third period goal by Andrew MacDonald.
Superstar center and captain John Tavares is now pointless in his last four games, his longest drought of the season and his longest since a six game skid in 2011. He has no goals in his last seven games but still tied for second in the league in scoring with 64 points, 13 behind Sidney Crosby.
Only one more game is on the schedule for the Islanders, Saturday versus the Colorado Avalanche before the team splits for two and half weeks to accommodate the Sochi Olympics in Russia. Tavares, Frans Nielsen, Lubomir Visnovsky and Thomas Vanek will be representing the Islanders.
Once the team reconvenes, there is much work to do out of the front office. General manager Garth Snow will have to find a market for Vanek and Andrew MacDonald to enhance the return for his club as they once again will be looking towards the future with the playoffs a slim to none possibility at this point. Sources have Michael Grabner possibly being on the trade block as well.
For the Flames, they currently sit 5 points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers at the bottom of the Pacific Division. Scoring woes and goaltending have combined to make this a difficult and disappointing season in Calgary but they too, have hope on the horizon in the promise of young stars.
19 year old center Sean Monahan leads the team with 15 goals on the season and looks to be a consistent 25-30 goal scorer at the highest level of hockey competition. 24 year old Mikael Backlund is 3rd on the club with 27 points.
A lot of the Flames future might depend on who they can acquire for Mike Cammalleri, who is almost for sure playing out his last few games in a Flames jersey. He should be a highly coveted asset at the deadline for teams who feel they are close to contending for the Stanley Cup.
The Flames rank 28th in goals per game, 27th in goals against, 26th on the power play and 24th in penalty killing.
What They’re Saying
- “We’re a desperate team,” said coach Jack Capuano, whose club allowed an average of 4.2 non-shootout goals during the five-game slide. “I thought our guys really worked hard right from the start. … We’ve been playing hard; we haven’t been getting results.”
- “We’d obviously like to do things better and make things more challenging,” Flames forward and ex-Canadien Michael Cammalleri said after his second game since missing nine in a row with a concussion.
- “It was a tough night, not like the last week at home,” Backlund said. “We can’t be too high when we win, or too low when we lose.”
- All time vs Flames : 44-42-20
- Killers: The Islanders have gone five games without giving up a power-play goal, killing 14-for-14 over that stretch. The Isles have killed 23-of-25 penalties over their last nine games.
- Career Highs: With 24 games to play, Kyle Okposo has already matched or exceeded his career highs in goals, assists and points. Frans Nielsen has surpassed his previous career high of 17 goals.
- Hot Hand: Kyle Okposo has points in seven of his last nine games (5g/7a). Okposo has 12 goals and 12 assists in his last 18 games
- Need For 3: The Isles are 19-7-3 when they score at least three goals and are 3-21-5 when they do not.
- Back-To-Backs: The Islanders concluded their 12th set of back-to-back games last Tuesday against the Rangers. They are 6-6-0 on the front end, and 5-5-2 on the back-end of back-to-backs this season. The club will total 16 back-to-back sets this season.
- Career Wins: Evgeni Nabokov’s 345 career victories rank 18th on the NHL all time wins list. Nabokov ranks 18th all time in shutouts with 57, tied with Clint Benedict.
- Iron-Man Streak: Frans Nielsen leads the Islanders with 187 consecutive regular-season games played. Other notable streaks include Matt Martin (119) and Andrew MacDonald (106).
26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
15 Cal Clutterbuck – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
40 Michael Grabner – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 36 Eric Boulton
37 Brian Strait – 47 Andrew MacDonald
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
44 Calvin de Haan – 46 Matt Donovan
Injured Reserve :3 Travis Hamonic