Game day: Islanders at Red Wings, 7:30 pm

Joe Louis Arena — Detroit, MI
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Red Wings… Detroit is a strong power play team. They enter the game withe the seventh ranked power play in the NHL and they are tied for second in the league for most power play goal with 27… Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in points. He has 26 (five goals, 21 assists) through 32 games this season. Pavel Datsyuk is second on the team, with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists)… The Red Wings are 11-3-5 at Joe Louis Arena this season.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The boys are back.

The Islanders will have Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic back in their defensive arsenal tonight when they take on the Detroit Red Wings in the first game of a back-to-back. Boychuk has not played since the Isles 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on November 26. Hamonic has not played since December 2 against the Ottawa Senators.

Jack Capuano will not make any changes to the forward lines. Josh Bailey will remain on the top line and Jaroslav Halak will start in net for the Islanders.

Bailey had played with the Isles top line for part of Monday’s win over New Jersey and has been practicing with them for the past two days.

The Islanders have gone 6-1-0 against the Red Wings dating back to the 2008-09 season and are 4-1-0 in the first game of back-to-backs. Last year’s visit to Detroit also produced this entertaining moment caught by HBO cameras (warning NSFW language):

Boychuk, Hamonic off IR

The Islanders have activated both Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic off injured reserve, the team announced.

The Islanders placed Boychuk on injured reserve on December 3 and Hamonic on IR on December 5.

GEICO SportsNite: Checking in with the Isles

GEICO SportsNite hears from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and coach Jack Capuano about receiving booster shots, and how the team is preparing for their upcoming stretch of games.

Isles ready for another set of back-to-back games

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders skated on the ice at IceWorks in Syosset on Thursday before heading off to Detroit where they’ll take on the Red Wings Friday night.

NHL: New York Islanders at Detroit Red WingsFriday will begin the Islanders’ seventh set of back-to-back games this season, with the team quickly turning around to host the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday night. The Isles will then have nine back-to-back sets left before the 2014-15 season is completed.

However, the Islanders aren’t stressing over them despite preparing to play two tough opponents in Detroit and Tampa Bay.

“I think we’re all just used to it,” John Tavares said after practice. “I think we’ve been a part of it for a long time now. It’s part of the way the league is.”

Tavares and the rest of his teammates also know they have a bit of history on their side when it comes to playing the Red Wings. Yes, Detroit is a tough offensive team to play against, but they have had trouble beating the Islanders recently.

The Islanders have gone 6-1-0 against Detroit since the 2008-09 season. New York has also played pretty well this season in the first game of back-to-backs, going 4-1-0. To read more of this story, click here

Boychuk and Hamonic could return this weekend

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The last time Jack Capuano spoke about the status of Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic at Islanders IceWorks in Syosset, it was less than cheery. This time around the Islander’s head coach had more optimistic news to report.

“They’re coming along real well,” Capuano said about the Isles injured defensemen. “So there’s a pretty good chance they could play this weekend.”

Boychuk has missed the last nine games with an upper body injury, while Hamonic has been sidelined for the last six due to an upper body injury as well. The Isles have gone 5-4-0 through the nine games with Boychuk or both Hamonic and Boychuk out of the lineup.

Boychuk’s offensive contributions have been a big help for New York. He has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 21 games and his defensive play has shored up what was once a weakness for the Isles. Hamonic has also contributed offensively with six points (three goals, three assists), but has consistently been one of the team’s top defensemen through the last several seasons. To read more of this story, click here

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: A Comeback Combo’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank break down last week’s comeback victories over Chicago and New Jersey. Plus, Brian welcomes Dominik Jansky of Lighthouse Hockey to the show (7:00) for his take on this year’s team and the closing of the Coliseum.

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Grabner to IR

The Islanders have placed Michael Grabner on injured reserve, retroactive to December 13.

Grabner has a lower body injury, the team said.