New York Islanders Vs San Jose Sharks : Pre-Game Report


Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (25-33-9, 59 Points) host the San Jose Sharks (43-17-7, 93 Points) in game no. 66 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where:  Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

When:  7:00 PM ET, March 14, 2014

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

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

Opposition Blog:  Blades Of Teal

The New York Islanders take the ice tonight for the first time since their rousing 7 goal third period buried the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

In what has been a very tough stretch since the March 5 trade deadline has come and gone, the Islanders are playing out the string of games left on their schedule and at the same time getting a long look at some young developing talent that will hopefully catapult this team back to its former glory.

So far, the results have been positive from that front, with only Ryan Strome a little late in showing his true superstar potential. Brock Nelson has been fantastic all season since making the team out of training camp and Anders Lee has been spectacular with 5 goals in 7 games and 6 in his first 9 as a professional. Matt Donovan is back and still playing at a high level, even with a new partner in Brian Strait. Lastly, Anders Nilsson might not be the future long term starter but is clearly showing he at least can be a capable backup.

Now, we get a look at two more added to the roster. Kevin Czuczman, the highly coveted 19 year old college defenseman, is on the big club and could see action as soon as tonight. Johan Sundstrom earned the first recall of his professional career and will get into the lineup tonight with Michael Grabner suffering from the effects of a concussion.

The only time these two teams met was memorable, with New York earning a 3-2 shootout win at the HP Pavilion in San Jose led by Kyle Okposo‘s late game tying goal and a wonderful effort by goaltender Kevin Poulin, who made 46 saves.

The Sharks come in as one of the hottest teams in the entire league, as they have won 4 straight and sport an 8-1-1 mark over their last ten games. They are 18-13-3 on the road and 19-6-3 against the Eastern conference.

Leading the offensive surge, San Jose boasts three of the NHL’s top 25 scorers. Joe Pavelski (34-32-66), Joe Thornton (9-55-64) and Patrick Marleau (28-31-59) are among the league’s top stars.

Surprisingly, they are only 23rd on the power play at 16% but do have the 6th ranked penalty kill at 84.4%.

Antii Niemi is expected to be the starter in goal.

What They’re Saying

  •  “A 3-0 deficit going into the third period, we were pretty deflated,” winger Matt Martin said. “The coaches came in and made it clear we didn’t do enough in the second period and we didn’t play for one another, and if we didn’t pick up our game in the third period they’d have no problem taking guys out of the lineup.”
  • “It feels good to be right up there,” Marleau said. “It’s not going to be easy the rest of the season.”

Quick Hitters

College Signing: The Islanders announced Tuesday that defenseman Kevin Czuczman (pronounced “Churchman”) agreed to terms on a two-year, entry-level contract. Czuczman, 23, posted career highs in goals (10) and points (21) in 36 games as a junior at Lake Superior State University. The Port Elgin, ON, native’s 10 goals led all Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensemen. He also led all Lakers defensemen in points, ranking fourth overall on the team, and led the club in penalty minutes (73).

Youngsters: The Islanders 25-man roster features nine rookies: Kevin Czuvzman, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Mike HalmoAnders Lee, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Ryan Strome and Johan Sundstrom.

Hot Starter: Anders Lee has seven points (5g/2a) in seven games this season and nine points (6g/3a) in nine career NHL games.

Streaking: Colin McDonald is on a four-game point streak, with two goals and two assists over that stretch.

Back-To-Backs: The Islanders open their 15th set of back-to-back games tonight vs. San Jose. They are 6-7-1 on the front-end and 5-7-2 on the back-end of back-to-backs this season. The club will total 17 back-to-back sets in 2013-14.

Comeback Kids: The Islanders lead the NHL with eight wins in games they trailed after two periods. The Isles have rallied from a two (or more) goal deficit an NHL leading nine times.

Seven-Goal Frame: The Islanders scored seven goals in the third period of Monday’s dramatic comeback victory in Vancouver. The seven goals tied an NHL record for goals in a road period and tied the franchise record for goals in a period (seven vs NYR on 12/23/78). The Isles scored three power play goals in the third period, tying the club record.

Projected Lineup


29 Brock Nelson – 51 Frans Nielsen – 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee – 18 Ryan Strome – 13 Colin McDonald
17 Matt Martin – 12 Josh Bailey – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
28 Johan Sundstrom – 53 Casey Cizikas – 43 Mike Halmo


44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
37 Brian Strait – 46 Matt Donovan


20 Evgeni Nabokov
45 Anders Nilsson


Radek Martinek

Matt Carkner

40 Michael Grabner

Injured Reserve:

91 John Tavares