New York Islanders at Florida Panthers, 7:30pm ET
Sunrise, FL — BB&T Center — MSG+
Tonight the Islanders head further south in Florida to Sunrise, just north of Miami. On Thursday they shutout the Lighting in Tampa Bay, 2-0. That was a nice rebound after falling flat on Sunday in Pittsburgh, where they lost by five goals. Despite that awful game, the Islanders have earned 10 points of a possible 14 in their last seven games.
Tonight, the Islanders face by far the worst team in the NHL right now. The Florida Panthers are 7-15-6 through 28 games, notching only points this year. Their seven wins leave them as the only team in the league left without double digit wins. The main problem has been defense as they have allowed 104 goals, which is good for dead last in the league. No other team has allowed more than 88.
In net, the Panthers have had a rotating trio of subpar netminders. Jose Theodore has started 14 games and has been the best with… Yikes… An .893 save percentage. Former second round pick and 23-year old Jacob Markstrom has been a close second at .891 in seven starts and former Devil Scott Clemmensen has been abysmal, with an .858 and 4.15 to his name in seven starts.
Theodore is hurt, out with a lower body injury since early March so the Islanders will likely face Clemmensen tonight in net. That’s according to Panthers beat writer George Richards.
So what I’m saying is that the Islanders should have no problem scoring goals tonight.
For the good guys, Evgeni Nabokov will get yet another start tonight as the Islanders continue to ride their best option. Kevin Poulin hasn’t started since February 24th at the Coliseum against Carolina (he played a period in the blowout in Pittsburgh Sunday).
Colin McDonald, fresh off that contract extension, will be back in the lineup tonight. Coach Capuano told the Offical Twitter™ that the bottom two lines are a bit up in the air right now, pending how McDonald feels. Jesse Joensuu will not make his season debut quite yet. The bottom two lines below are just a guess:
TONIGHT’S PROJECTED LINES
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo
Martin – Reasoner – Cizikas
McDonald – Aucoin – Boulton
Hamonic – MacDonald
Streit – Martinek
Hickey – Visnovsky