Game Day (73): Islanders at Lightning, 7:30pm

at
(27-35-9)                (39-24-9)
Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Lightning… At the deadline veteran Marty St. Louis requested a trade and was moved to the Rangers for Ryan Callahan and draft picks… Mattias Ohlund is the only major injury for Tampa that will miss tonight’s game… Eight players have 10+ goals for Tampa this season, led by Valtteri Filppula with 24… Ben Bishop is the confirmed starter for tonight…  

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Tonight is the 10th-to-last game of the year for the Islanders as they take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay. As is tradition the tendency of Jack Capuano, there will not be any changes to the lineup after Tuesday night’s win in Carolina. The rest of today’s post is a combined Game Day/ Morning Skate. Lineups are after the jump.


The Islanders have had a number of players only meetings this season — we were keeping count on Twitter earlier, I think the number may be four. Justin Bourne of the Score weighed in on the topic after the division-leading Penguins had a meeting of their own earlier in the week. It’s interesting to read about it from a former player’s perspective, a side we usually don’t get to hear.

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The Afternoon Skate: Flatley’s First, Collberg Hurt

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Here’s a little bit of a history lesson as we start to near the summer, which is the usual time of year for these things. Back in 1984, Pat Flatley joined the Islanders for the first time since being taken 21st overall in the 1982 draft. The long time Islanders captain made his debut for the team on February 29, 1984 in Winnipeg against the (old) Jets. Flatley would contribute immediately, scoring on his first NHL shot only 5-plus minutes into the game.  

Want to go into a bit of a time warp? Well, here’s the video of that entire game. Thanks to Eric D for passing it along. Flatley’s goal comes at the 11:20 mark of the video but if you have the time you might want to watch the whole 11 minutes for the 30-year old commercials and the soothing tones of Jiggs McDonald. He sounds exactly the same, save for the different names on the ice.

After the goal McDonald and his co-announcer Ed Westfall remark about how they, and Flatley, will remember this for a long time. And, well, here we all are.

Eric Hornick also writes in to say that this game is the only leap-day win in the history of the franchise.

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Islanders 5, Hurricanes 4: Martin, McDonald Score Twice in Goal Fest

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 9.56.19 PM

Box Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders took it to a sleep-walking Hurricanes team tonight in North Carolina. With four goals in the first period including three in the first six minutes, the Islanders jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and (almost) didn’t look back.

Unlikely scorer Colin McDonald scored two of the Isles first three goals, which helped to chase Carolina netminder Cam Ward after only six saves in 6:12 of game time. McDonald jammed at a loose puck in the crease to open the scoring only 3:39 into the game and, after Cal Clutterbuck made it 2-0, McDonald deposited a brilliant feed from Calvin de Haan in the back of the net. The goals were McDonald’s seventh and eighth of the year.

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Game Day (72): Islanders at Hurricanes, 7 p.m.

at
(27-35-9)                (31-31-9)
PNC Arena — Raleigh, NC
TV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Hurricanes… Cam Ward will get the start in goal tonight for Carolina…  The Canes only injured is Joni Pitkanen who is out for the season with a heel injury… Carolina is 4-3 in their last seven games…

Projected Lineup:
Lee-Nielsen-Okposo de Haan-Hamonic Nilsson
Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck Carkner-Donovan Nabokov
McDonald-Strome-Martin Hickey-Czuczman
Sundstrom-Cizikas-Halmo
Scratches: Martinek, Strait, Visnovsky, Boulton IR: Tavares, Grabner

The Morning Skate: Time to Think About Next Year’s Roster

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The final 10 games of the 2013-14 are approaching — the 11th from the end takes place tonight — and the way this year has gone they’ll be best used as evaluation on decisions for next year.

For the younger players, it’s a chance to make an impression for a roster spot and get a jump on training camp. Anders Lee is pretty clearly at the head of the pack right now, with 10 points in 11 games. Of course small sample size warnings apply, but anywhere in the real of a point per game, or above half a point per game, would be excellent from him at this point. Ryan Strome has played well since his recall with six points in 11 games and another summer of training will hopefully do him well.

On defense, the Islanders have quite a few names to evaluate and most of them you would imagine are already penciled in for next year’s roster given; A) their performance and B) the lack of depth at the defensive position. Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Thomas Hickey should all be in the fold in the fall. Both Donovan and de Haan, along with Lee, are going to be restricted free agents and owed new contracts over the summer.

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Islanders 2, Blue Jackets 0: Isles Hold Two-Goal Lead, Shutout Jackets

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.38.13 PMBox Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

With 41 saves from Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders put a damper on Columbus’ playoff hopes at the Coliseum this afternoon with a shutout win. For Nabokov, it was his third shutout of the year and he was named first start of the game. In a post-game interview with MSG’s Peter Ruttgaizer, he reminded those in attendance that he was feeling good by telling the Coliseum crowd “I still got it!” before telling the same to the assembled media in the Isles hallway. 

Maybe today was a bit of public posturing by the 38-year old unrestricted free agent to be or maybe it was some of his trademark personality.

Regardless of the reason, Nabokov brought to the forefront an off-season question for the Islanders; do they stick with the safety blanket that has been effective but not amazing between the pipes or do they move on to someone else? To read more of this story, click here

Game Day (71): Blue Jackets at Islanders, 1pm

at
(36-28-6)                (26-35-9)
Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Blue Jackets… The Blue Jackets are 7-3-1 in the month of March as they’ve climbed back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. At the moment, they sit one point back of both Detroit and Washington for the final spot… No major injuries save for defender Ryan Murray, the team’s 2nd overall pick in 2012… Ryan Johansen is having a breakout year, leading the team with 27 goals and 52 points in 70 games.

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Ding, dong the black jerseys are dead.

For the final time, the Islanders will wear the black third jerseys in today’s matchup against the Blue Jackets at the Coliseum. They’ve since been replaced, successfully, with the stadium series jerseys, which appear to be the third jerseys that the team will go with in the coming years. Coincidence or not, the black jerseys have been a symbol of poor play for the fanbase for the last couple years, and I’m thinking Eric Hornick would like $1 for every time he’s been asked what the team’s record in them has been. In case you’re wondering, they’re 7-11-5 in the black jerseys since they were introduced in 2011 with one more match to come of course.

As far as today’s lineup, Kyle Okposo will be ready to go but Lubomir Visnovsky will not. That means a bit of a switch up on defense. Evgeni Nabokov will start in net today for the Isles.

Projected Lineup:
Lee-Nielsen-Okposo Czuczman-Hamonic Nabokov
Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck de Haan-Donovan Nilsson
McDonald-Strome-Martin Hickey-Carkner
Sundstrom-Cizikas-Halmo
Scratches: Martinek, Strait, Visnovsky, Boulton IR: Tavares, Grabner

Okposo, Visnovsky Day-to-Day

The Islanders have announced that Kyle Okposo left practice early today with a lower body injury. Defender Lubomir Visnovsky did not practice today and is suffering from an upper body injury. Both players are listed as day-to-day.