Some thoughts on the Islanders first loss of the year

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders undefeated streak was going to end at some point, unfortunately for them it came to an end on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Missed chances on the man-advantage and two power play goals allowed sunk the Isles Thursday night in the Steel City. Despite two goals given up, Jaroslav Halak had a strong game.

For the game recap click here.

Below are some quick thoughts and notes on Saturday night’s loss: To read more of this story, click here

Mikhail Grabovski out after suffering concussion

Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion.

He had originally passed a concussion test after leaving Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks in the first period. But Grabovski woke up on Friday and was dealing with concussion like symptoms, according to General Manager Garth Snow.

A return date is unknown at this time. Grabovski will not be reevaluated until Monday at the earliest and will require a doctors clearance before returning to the ice.

Recap: Penguins 3, Islanders 1

Result:  The Penguins beat the Islanders 3-1 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Need to know: Pittsburgh rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a pair of power play goals in the second period with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist scoring. Malkin added a second goal in the third period for a 3-1 lead. Islanders’ Thomas Hickey scored in the opening period for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak had 35 saves for the Islanders.

Links: Box | Recap

Next up: The Islanders host Toronto on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Game Day (5): Islanders at Penguins

at
Consol Energy Center — Pittsburgh, PA
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Penguins… Pittsburgh is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The Penguins blew a two goal lead in the final forty minutes… The Penguins have the top rated power play in the NHL through four games. They are 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) to start the year… The Penguins top line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist have accounted for 61.5 percent of the team’s goals to start the year.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

It’s a drive for five…. Wins.

The Islanders look to do something they have not done in franchise history on Saturday; win five straight games to start the year. Prior to Thursday’s win over the San Jose Sharks, only two previous Islander squads had won the first four games of the season. The Isles are the only team that is 4-0-0 entering Saturday night’s meeting with the Penguins.

Jack Capuano will have some slight changes in his line up with Mikhail Grabovski out indefinitely with an upper body injury. Nikolay Kulemin will move to the second line wing whee Grabovski was and Cal Clutterbuck moves to Kulemin’s spot on the third line. Colin McDonald will make his season debut and play on the fourth line. Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Islanders.

The defensive pairs will remain the same from the previous game.

Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis could play against the Islanders. He left Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars on stretcher after getting hit up high with a shot. A decision on his status will be made saturday afternoon.

The Islanders are 3-3-0 in their last six visits to Consol Energy Center. Below are the lines for tonight, courtesy of Arthur Staple:

Corey Conacher-John Tavares-Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin-Brock Nelson-Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Colin McDonald

Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey-Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan-Brian Strait

McDonald in, Grabovski out; Halak in goal

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said forward Colin McDonald will make his season debut Saturday night in Pittsburgh, replacing the injured Mikhail Grabovski. (Islanders, Oct. 18).

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders (4-0) against the Penguins.

Grabovski is out with what is characterized as an “upper body injury”, though he reportedly does not have a concussion. Grabovski (5 feet 11, 183 pounds) was hit and sent to the ice by San Jose’s John Scott (6-8, 260) in Thursday’s victory. McDonald has been a healthy scratch for the first four games.

Report: Isles sold for $485 million

Charles Wang will receive $485 million from Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin for the Islanders, according to a report on Forbes.com (Ozanian, Oct. 17).

Ledecky and Malkin will become minority owners for two years before taking over majority ownership of the team. Wang will stay on as a minority owner in 2016.

The deal was approved by the NHL Board of Governors in September and a press conference was set for early October, but was postponed.

Wang was being sued for $10 million by Andrew Barroway, who attempted to buy the team before Ledecky and Malkin, but the suit was dropped in early October.

Islanders power play report card, pres. by Long Island University

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders power play has been a strength for them to start the 2014-15 season. Through their first four games, the Isles have gone 6-for-14 on the man-advantage and have the second-best power play in the league behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long Island University SmallIt is a stark difference from where they were last year when up a man.

Last season, the power play looked disjointed most nights and was missing a player to “quarterback” the Islanders. The additions of Johnny Boychuk and, to a lesser extent, Nick Leddy have given the Islanders the true power play quarterback they have desperately needed.

It’s easy to see to see, through the first week of the NHL season, that they are a more potent team on the man-advantage. Boychuk’s presence on the point has opened up space for players down low to get scoring chances and the puck movement has been crisp.

The Islanders have recorded 18 goals through their first four games of the year. Six of those of 18 goals have come on the man-advantage.

Grade: A