Anders Lee used time in Bridgeport as motivation

Anders Lee was assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after training camp this season, but he used that time in the AHL to be prepared for when he was called back up (Yahoo Sports, Feb. 19).

“You work hard all summer and try not to make that happen,” Lee said Thursday. “[W]hen it did you just go down there motivated. You got to work a little bit harder and fine-tune your game a little bit. So I just went down there, put my head down and worked. You can’t really control those kind of things. You just got to go out there and try to fix it.”

Sure enough, the Islanders center was called back to the big club after just two weeks in Bridgeport as he scored three times and recorded five points in five games. Four months later and Lee is still making his mark with the Isles, filling in on the top line alongside John Tavares for the injured Kyle Okposo.

“I think it’s no secret why he’s had success all year,” Tavares said. “It’s just his presence in front of the net. The good job he does getting to the net, being such a big body, strong on his skates, and he gets very good body position. It’s not always easy to go there, and when you do go there you’ve got to be good at it.”

Grabovski suffers upper-body injury during Isles win over Predators

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano did not sound all that optimistic after the game about forward Mikhail Grabovski.NHL: Nashville Predators at New York Islanders

Grabovski took a big hit from Eric Nystrom at 8:39 of the first period of Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. The Islander forward laid on the ice for a few minutes after the hit and a stretcher was even brought out onto the ice after a few minutes. He did eventually sit up and skate off under his own power.

The Islanders later announced he would miss the remainder of the game with an upper-body injury.

After the game Capuano did not have an update on Grabovski, but did say “I’m sure he’s going to be out a while though.”

By all accounts the hit appeared to be a clean hit by Nystrom and no penalty was assessed on the play. Capuano said that he did not see the play and that it was explained to him by the officials as a hit in the middle of Grabovski’s body.

After the game, Nystrom characterized the hit as a hockey check.

“He had his head down and sometimes it’s a cause of positioning,” Nystrom explained. “He picked up the puck and turned, and I was just standing right there. That’s how those plays happen sometimes. I obviously don’t like seeing anybody get hurt, but it’s just a body check.”

Grabovski has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) for the Islanders in 51 games. He missed about a week earlier in the season due to a concussion.

The Islanders will practice on Friday before leaving for Washington D.C. and an update on Grabovski could be available then.

Islanders prove they are a force in NHL in win over Nashville

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders came into Thursday night’s game against the NHL Leading Nashville Predators expecting a battle. By the end of the 60-minute affair they had come out on top with a 5-2 victory and the Isles 39th win of the season.NHL: Nashville Predators at New York Islanders

It was not the most important win of the 2014-15 season, but it certainly rubber stamped the Islanders as a true force in the NHL.

“[The Predators] are obviously the best team so far this season,” Johnny Boychuk, who recored a goal and an assist in the win, told reporters. “They’re a good team and for us to come away with a win against them it shows what kind of team we have. We worked for everything we got and we capitalized on our opportunities.”

It was an impressive effort for the Islanders, who outshot their opponent 40-32 and outhit the Predators 35-30. The Islanders kept pace with a team that has beaten some of the NHL’s other top contenders and didn’t allow the lead to slip away when the Predators were putting on the pressure.

Nashville managed to cut the Islanders lead to 3-2 late in the second period, but goals by Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey 1:39 apart from one another helped seal the win for New York. To read more of this story, click here

Game Recap: Islanders 5 – Predators 2

Recap: The Islanders posted their second consecutive win with a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators at home on Thursday night.


Need to Know: Five different Islanders notched goals in Thursday’s victory over the Predators while Jaroslav Halak tied the team record for wins in a season.

Brian Strait got the scoring started early, putting a snap shot past Pekka Rinne in goal for Nashville. Johnny Boychuk was next in line to score with a slapper that gave the Isles a 2-0 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first.

But that wouldn’t be all for the first period. After a successful penalty kill, John Tavares capitalized on the second New York power play of the game to put the Islanders up 3-0.

However, the Predators fought back with a Filip Forsberg goal in the first and another from James Neal in the second to decrease the deficit to just one.

But the Islanders secured their lead in the third with two more goals, one from Nick Leddy, who also picked up two assist on the night, and the other from Josh Bailey just over a minute later.

Links: AP RecapBox Score

What’s Next: The Isles look to extend their win streak to three as they head to the Verizon Center to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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

The Islanders host the Predators in their one and only visit to Nassau Coliseum tonight. MSG will have the television broadcast, while WRHU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM will carry the radio broadcast. 

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

To be the best, you have to beat the best and tonight the Islanders (38-19-1) will try to beat the best team in the National Hockey League.

The Predators (39-12-6) are atop the NHL standings with the most wins and points (84). They have won six straight games entering tonight’s contest with the Islanders. This will serve as the one and only meeting between the Islanders and Predators at Nassau Coliseum.

Pekka Rinne will start in net for Nashville. He is 34-7-2 in 43 games, with a 1.94 save percentage and a .932 goals against average. Rinne made a season-high 42 saves on Tuesday in Nashville’s win over the San Jose Sharks. Jaroslav Halak will be back in net for the Islanders and will once again look for his franchise record tying 32nd win this season.

Nashville is 15-5-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season.

“They’re the top team in the league and I think it’s no secret how mobile, and much of a factor their [defensemen] are,” John Tavares said. The Predators have received 148 points from their defensemen this season. “For us I think we just have to do the best we can and make them have to defend, and defend without the puck. That’s always the hardest thing to do and to have the energy when they get.

“If you’re able to wear them down, they don’t have the same kind of zip or ability to skate and move their feet.”

Tonight also marks the final visit to Nassau Coliseum for former Islander head coach Peter Laviolette and Eric Nystrom, son of Islanders’ legend Bobby Nystrom.

Nelson, McDonald see a familiar foe in Seth Jones and Craig Smith

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

 When the Islanders and Nashville Predators take the ice, former international teammates will face-off against one another.

During the 2014 IIHF World Championships Colin McDonald and Brock Nelson were teammates with fellow Americans Craig Smith and Seth Jones, who along with the rest of the Nashville Predators will play the Islanders Thursday night. The United States lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament to the Czech Republic last may, but Nelson and McDonald both played well for the states.

“They’re actually great players,” Jones said about his experience playing with McDonald and Nelson. “We were a young team over there, so everyone got a lot of opportunities. They have a lot skill. Obviously they’re doing well this year as well in the NHL. I’m happy for them.”

McDonald has made a big impact on the Isles since being reinserted into the lineup. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in six games since being called up on an emergency basis. Nelson — despite recently snapping an 18-game goals drought — has also been an import piece of the Isles roster all season long.

Jones was very complimentary to the young Islander forward’s game.

“He does it all,” Jones said about Nelson. “He can be a power forward, but is also a skilled guy. He makes a lot of plays, he’s got a great shot. We’ve played on the same power play unit, so obviously he has great vision and he can put the puck in the back of the net.”

McDonald and Nelson know first hand how dangerous Jones and Smith can be and what the Isles will be up against when both players are on the ice. Smith has 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) this season and Jones has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in his second NHL season.

“They’re both great players,” Nelson explained. “I played on a line with Craig. Good guy and he has a lot of skill, so they have a lot of good forwards and the same thing with Seth. He’s a great player. He eats up some minutes in the back end. He’s a solid player that has some offensive upside.” 


Visnovsky returns, Halak in goal

Lubomir Visnovsky will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday night, Jack Capuano announced.

The head coach has not yet said which defenseman will be out of the lineup to make room for Visnovsky.

Jaro Halak will man the pipes. Halak surrendered six goals against the Rangers on Monday. This will be his 44 start of the season.

Brian Erni

I’d presume that Brian Strait will sit after his -35.9 CF Rel% on Tuesday in Carolina. Strait, who had put together a nice little run in January and early February, was brutal against the Canes, and Visnovsky has been solid since looking shaky upon his return from injury. I have to think that this will signal the start of a permanent run of Boychuk-Leddy-Hamonic-de Haan-Visnovsky-Hickey as the defensemen, barring an injury. I also have to think that Strait’s struggles may get Matt Donovan a look sooner than later if one of the Isles d-men need a breather.