Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:Two pieces of good injury news today — after the not so great Visnovsky forecast — Thomas Vanek’s injury is not expected to land him on the injured reserve and could see him back on the ice later this week. Also, Travis Hamonic is just fine after leaving Sunday’s game late in the third after taking a hard fall into the boards behind the Islanders’ net. Hamonic is expected to play tonight for the Islanders as they take on the Predators at the Coliseum.
So while Visnovsky, Strait and Clutterbuck are still hurt the Islanders appear to have dodged two major injury bullets as Hamonic and Vanek will miss little, if any, ice time.
Recently, the Islanders have acted as slump busters for their opponents. On Sunday, the Canadiens got a regulation win off the Islanders after four straight losses. On Saturday it was Columbus with a regulation win to bust a five-game skid. Tonight, they’ll have the chance to do it again for a third straight game.
Nashville comes into tonight’s game losers of two in a row, which isn’t really much of a slump in and of itself. But it’s more how they’ve lost those game that is cause for concern in Nashville; two back-to-back 5-0 defeats.
In goal for Nashville is an inexperienced backup, Carter Hutton, who has started seven straight for the Preds since Pekka Rinne had surgery for a hip infection. It’s been a rough go for Hutton, who has an .887 save percentage on the year and has allowed 12 goals in his last three starts. One of those starts lasted only eight minutes as he was yanked after allowing three goals on five shots against Winnipeg last week.
Hutton, 27, was signed as backup in the off-season after bouncing around the AHL for a number of years. Here’s the Tennessean:
“But at the same time, it’s just trying to take it slow. When we were winning, things were great, and it was all good. But now you hear a little more stuff. I just try to stay away from it and focus on what I can do to control what I can.”
The Islanders will face another backup goalie tonight not because the opponent is on a back-to-back, but because the backup has been pushed into a starting role with the regular starter out for the foreseeable future.