Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report
Tonight, the New York Islanders (23-30-8, 54 Points) host the New Jersey Devils (25-22-13, 63 Points) in game no. 62 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
When: Saturday, March 1st, 2014
TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)
Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)
Opposition Blog: Pucks & Pitchforks
Tickets: New York Islanders Tickets
The Islanders reacted pretty well in their first game without John Tavares. Evgeni Nabokov was nothing short of terrible, but the offense (Michael Grabner, Anders Lee & Lubomir Visnovsky) really stepped it up. In fact, Michael Grabner now holds the Islanders record for quickest consecutive shorthanded goals. Grabs wrinkled the twine twice in a period of 48 seconds.
The play of Anders Lee is also not to be overlooked. Someone didn’t get the memo that the Islanders are a disaster waiting to happen. They are supposed to collapse in the third period. Anders Lee scored two times in the third after Nabby allowed 2 soft goals each time the Islanders tied it.
Today, the Isles look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Devils at 1PM. The Devils are exactly where the Islanders want to be, in the playoff hunt. The Isles remain 12 points out the final playoff spot in the East, but the Devils are right there. They sit just 3 points behind the Flyers at the start of the day. Without their leading scorer and captain, it will be very very difficult for the Isles to make a run to the playoffs. Of course, they won’t count themselves out until they are mathematically eliminated. But, the Isles are the baseball equivalent of 6 games out of the Wild Card in September and time is running out.
As of today, the main trade chips are still out there. Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald are basically sitting ducks waiting for new homes. Vanek hasn’t helped the trade value at all as he has been pretty invisible over the last few games, including the Olympics. It makes Isles fans wonder if they truly want this guy back or if there is someone else out there that they could obtain in the off-season.
Speaking of moves, do you think Buffalo wants to get younger? When they traded potential Isles target Ryan Miller yesterday to St. Louis, with it came a conditional pick. That pick could turn into a 2016 1st round pick if the Blues re-sign Miller or they came the Conference Finals. That would mean 5 1st round picks combined between the 2015 and 2016 drafts. Look for them to be very active in the player acquisition department.
What They’re Saying
"They are good players, I thought we played pretty well last night. Strome is a skill guy, so I tried to get him the puck as much as possible and I tried to work with Anders down low and get to the front of the net. It was fun to play with those two and we’re happy that they were able to produce for us and help us get that win."
"“We talked about (how), as hard as it is not to scoreboard watch here and look (at) what other teams are doing, we have to take care of our own game and put our head down and win as many games as we possibly can,”"
-Devils coach Peter DeBoer on the playoff race in the East.
"It’s almost like we come in here a little naive to the situation. We came up to help this team win, the past is the past and we’re just moving forward."
-Islanders Forward Anders Lee on the Isles third period struggles
- Anders Lee has four points (three goals, one assists) in three-career NHL games dating back to last season
- Travis Hamonic returns from his concussion after missing 12 games.
- Martin Brodeur will make the start against the Islanders
- The Islanders have just 9 wins at home this season
- Frans Nielsen (hand) and forward Matt Martin (lower body) practiced with the team Friday. No word on their game status.
- Michael Grabner, who scored 5 goals for Team Austria, remained hot as he scored 2 more for the Isles on Thursday night
26 Thomas Vanek – 29 Brock Nelson – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 12 Josh Bailey – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
27 Anders Lee – 18 Ryan Strome – 13 Colin McDonald
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas – 43 Mike Halmo
44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
37 Brian Strait – 47 Andrew MacDonald