Tonight’s Game: Wild vs Islanders, 7 p.m.

The Islanders host the Minnesota Wild tonight at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum. The game will be presented on MSG Plus, as well as WRHU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM.

Tonight will be the first time that Thomas Vanek returns to Nassau Coliseum since being traded last season. The Wild forward told reporters earlier in the day that he was close to re-signing with the Islanders, but the team’s move to Brooklyn “scared him away.”

The Wild (41-25-7) have are hot coming into tonight’s game. The Wild are 8-3-0 in the month of March and have two straight. The Islanders (44-25-4) snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday in New Jersey and scored multiple goals in a game for the first time since March 9 in Toronto.

The Islanders will have Jaroslav Halak back in net — he recorded a shutout win against the Devils Saturday — and Calvin de Haan is back on the blue line after serving as a healthy scratch. Matt Donovan will sit tonight.

Minnesota will try to ride Devan Dubnyk to another victory. He has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the National Hockey League and he has been a huge boost for the Wild. Forward Kyle Brodziak will sit out for Minnesota and Jordan Schroeder will take his place.

The Wild defeated the Islanders earlier in the season in Minnesota 5-4. The Islanders took a 3-0 lead off goals from Michael Grabner, Brock Nelson and Matt Martin on December 9. The Isles had a 4-1 lead after two periods, but the Wild rallied back with a four goal third period.

Brooklyn move played a role in Vanek’s departure from Isles

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Thomas Vanek’s stint on Long Island only last part of the 2013-14 season, but the winger genuinely seemed to enjoy his time with the Islanders.

He enjoyed it so much so that he was “very close” to staying with the team long term. Vanek created a lot of chemistry with Kyle Okposo and John Tavares during his time with the Isles and had nothing but good memories of the team.

NHL: Stadium Series-Practice Day“I only have good things to say,” Vanek told reporters Tuesday morning. “Only thing I wish that is the team would stay here on the Island and not move. Besides that it was a great time.”

Many Islander fans can empathize with that feeling — it is one that is certainly felt by many long time fans of the team. The Isles will be moving to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center at the conclusion of the season. The move has been viewed by many as way to help draw free agents to the Islanders, but it in fact played a role in Vanek signing elsewhere.

“There was two factors; one was in the summer I made a choice that I really wanted to go to free agency. But after being here for a while I loved it here,” he said. “The one thing I didn’t like was the move to Brooklyn. I think if the rink would have been built here, or should be here on the Island, then there is probably a good chance I still would be here.”

Vanek also noted that it would have been tough for his wife and kids to get to Brooklyn on game days. “Hopefully it works out and I was wrong, but at the time that kind of scared me off,” he added. To read more of this story, click here

De Haan to take Donovan’s spot in lineup against Wild

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

After being a healthy scratch on Saturday in New Jersey, Calvin de Haan is back in the lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild.de haan

Islanders’ Head Coach Jack Capuano announced the change following the team’s morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. de Haan has played in 62 of the 73 games the Islanders have played this season. His benching on Saturday caused a bit of debate as to why Capuano was sitting the young defenseman.

The week prior, Capuano sat Ryan Strome sat against the Montreal Canadians. He then proceeded to score a goal and an assist in New Jersey to help snap a five game skid. Capuano’s logic in sitting de Haan the game prior was probably the same for sitting Strome.

Now with de Haan back in, Matt Donovan will come back out of the lineup. Donovan played well in his three appearances last week and he was a plus-1 on Saturday.


There are no other major changes to the Isles lineup for tonight. Jaroslav Halak will be back in net once again and the forward lines will be the same as they were on Saturday against the Devils.

Ryan Strome scored a goal and had an assist in that game. Travis Hamonic also had a goal and an assist in the 3-0 win in Newark.

The Isles will wear these jerseys for the final regular season game…

The Islanders will honor their tradition at the Coliseum by wearing jerseys for the regular season finale that harken back to the inaugural 1972-73 team.

Here’s a look at what they’ll be wearing for the game on April 11:

last game jerseys

The game-worn jerseys are being auctioned off now through April 2 with proceeds benefiting the Islanders Children Foundation.

Brian Erni

I’m a little disappointed, because the ’72-’73 jerseys did not have names on the back. It would have been nice to see the team go in that direction. Also, back in that era, white jerseys were worn at home. I know this is just a logistics thing (Columbus plays the night before in their own building and the league now requires dark jerseys at home) but it would have been great if the team could have worked it out with the Jackets to wear their third jerseys so that the Isles could skate one last time at the Old Barn in the white version of this sweater.

Still, I always loved the way the orange numbers looked, even when they brought them back in 2007 for a single night, so this will be a cool look to give the regular season finale a vintage feel.

GEICO SportsNite: The push to the playoffs

GEICO SportsNite has reaction from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Jack Capuano as the Islanders prepare for regular-season stretch run.

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Pat LaFontaine calls in

The Easter Epic revisited! Brian Compton and Christian Arnold discuss the Islanders’ win over the Devils. Plus, Brian chats with Isles legend Pat LaFontaine (7:45) about his return to the Coliseum and his playing days on Long Island.

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Video: Kael Mouillierat scores highlight reel goal for Sound Tigers

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Kael Mouillierat may have scored the AHL’s goal of the year on Sunday.

The Sound Tigers’ center, who made his NHL debut in February with the Islanders, scored a lacrosse style goal during Bridgeport’s 7-1 win over the Binghamton Senators. The goal came 2:19 into the first period of the matinee contest. Sebastian Colberg missed the net on a shot and the puck found its’ way to the stick of Kevin Czuczman. The Sound Tiger defenseman sent the puck to Mouillierat behind the net and that’s when he scored.

“It’s usually got to be at the start of the period, when the ice is still fresh,” Mouillierat told the Connecticut Post about the goal. “I’ve probably messed it up two or three times, but this is twice it’s worked.”

Mouillierat scored a similar goal back in 2011 in the ECHL, with the Idaho Steelheads. That goal made it onto ESPN’s Top Plays.

Another interesting caviot about the whole thing is that goaltender for Binghamton was former Islander/Sound Tiger Peter Mannino.