New York Islanders Vs. Minnesota Wild: Pre-Game Report


Dec 29, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek (26) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Islanders defeated the Wild 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (26-34-9, 61 Points) host the Minnesota Wild (35-23-10, 80 points) in game no. 68 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 18th, 2014

TV: MSG+2 (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

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

Opposition Blog: Gone Puck Wild

Coming off a win last Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders will try to win their second straight game at home, as they’re set to take on the Minnesota Wild. The teams have seen each other once this season, a game in which the Islanders rallied from a three goal deficit to win on December 29th.

Things have changed for both teams since then. The Islanders have parted ways with pending free-agents Andrew MacDonald and Thomas Vanek, being sent to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens, respectively.

The Wild also have shaken things up, adding two new players right before the trade deadline. They were able to land Ilya Bryzgalov in a deal with the Oilers, and acquired Islander fan favorite Matt Moulson, a man the Islanders and their fans will be seeing (Yay!) tonight at 7 o’clock.

The Islanders roster aside from trades has quickly been changing. Johan Sundstrom was called up in response to a Michael Grabner concussion. Kevin Czuczman will be making his NHL debut tonight, fresh off his new contract with the Islanders.

Anders Nilsson will be getting the start for tonight’s game. He has been getting a decent amount of time since his call-up. With a shaky season in net for the Islanders, they’ve turned to they have turned to their last resort. Perhaps they are just getting him some playing time just to know where he stands before pulling the trigger this offseason and acquiring a legitimate, perhaps elite goaltender.

As for Minnesota, they come in slumping, having lost 5 of their last 6 games. Despite having a tremendous roster on paper, they are struggling to win games, and are clinging on to the 7th seed in the Western Conference.

Ilya Bryzgalov will be in net for Minnesota tonight. Bryzgalov has not had the best season between the pipes this year, posting a .908 SV% and a 2.95 GAA in 21 games played.

Tonight also will be Nino Niederreiter‘s first game back on Long Island. It’ll be quite fun to see him on Long Island again, and I’m sure the Coliseum will let him know how much Islander fans have missed him.

What They’re Saying

  • “I’ve met a lot of great people, great teammates, great fans. I have lots of good memories, and I’ve made some friends that I’ll keep forever,” says former Islander Matt Moulson, who returns to the Coliseum for the first time since being traded in October.
  • “Czuczman will play tonight,  (Matt) Carkner and (Matt) Donovan will be out,” says Islanders Coach Jack Capuano.

Quick Hitters

  •  Matt Moulson will play his first game against the Islanders since being traded tonight
  •  The Islanders lead the NHL with eight wins in games they trailed after two periods
  • The Isles are 10-17-8 at home this season
  • The Islanderss are 23-10-3 when they score at least three goals and are 3-24-6 when they do not
  • Matt Martin leads the NHL with 299 hits

Projected Lineup

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

24 Kevin Czuczman – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
37 Brian Strait – 44 Calvin de Haan

45 Anders Nilsson
20 Evgeni Nabokov


Radek Martinek
Matt Carkner
40 Michael Grabner
46 Matt Donovan

Injured Reserve:

91 John Tavares