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At the Rink blog

Streaking Islanders to play Panthers without Hamonic

Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Streaking Islanders to play Panthers without Hamonic

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The New York Islanders will try to extend a couple of impressive streaks Tuesday against the Florida Panthers, but they will have to do so without the services of defenseman Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic, who is second on the Islanders in ice time at 24:57 per game, will miss his first game of the season. Coach Jack Capuano said Hamonic was day to day with an upper-body injury that kept him out for the third period of a 4-2 victory against the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

The Islanders already are without defensemen Radek Martinek, who has missed the past 21 games due to back spasms, and Lubomir Visnovsky, who hasn't played since Oct. 19 because of a concussion.

Matt Carkner, a healthy scratch the past two games, will move into the lineup to replace Hamonic.

"Losing a guy that's played 25 minutes, that's a huge loss for our hockey team," Capuano said. "We're going to have to make some adjustments as the game goes on, there's no question."

The Islanders will be looking to extend a four-game winning streak and a seven-game win streak on the road. A victory in Florida would match the franchise record for consecutive road wins set in 1980-81.

Center John Tavares was named NHL First Star of the Week after he had four goals and six assists in four games last week. It was a great week overall for Tavares, who last Tuesday was named to the Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Obviously there's a lot of excitement and a little bit of anxiety building up for the Olympic announcement," Tavares said. "You just try to go out there and play the way I've been playing, trying to get better, trying to focus on the things that are going to help the team be successful. I'm just really looking forward to getting back out there [Tuesday]."

Tavares will be facing one of his linemates from last season, Brad Boyes, who leads the Panthers with 12 goals.

Boyes signed with the Panthers in late September after going to training camp on a professional tryout.

"I thought for sure, whether he was back with us or with any other team, that he would get another opportunity for what he proved last year," Tavares said of Boyes. "I'm just happy to see him get that chance and show he's still a very effective player and can still produce."

After playing on the Islanders' top line last season, Boyes is part of the Panthers' top trio, along with rookie Aleksander Barkov and Sean Bergenheim, another former Islanders player.

Bergenheim, Barkov and Boyes have combined for 13 goals and 27 points in the past 11 games, but the Panthers have been struggling to score recently. Florida managed only three non-shootout goals during its three-game road trip last week, although the Panthers managed a 1-1-1 record.

"I'm not going to put too much emphasis on the fact that that's something that has to be done," Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said. "We're creating scoring chances. My emphasis is more on the defensive side. We can be better in that area. Goals are going to start going in. We're hitting a lot of posts. We're getting pretty close in a lot of different things.

"I think goals are tough for most teams. You go around the League and I bet you that 15 of the teams, probably 20 of the teams, are saying it's tough to score. It's tough for everybody to score. We are still creating some chances and getting good opportunities. We want to play a good, solid game at both ends of the rink and we're going to continue to push that. I think the guys are going to see that they're going to start going in when we need them."

Here are the projected lineups for the Islanders and Panthers on Tuesday:

ISLANDERS

Thomas Vanek - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Brock Nelson

Michael Grabner - Ryan Strome - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Brian Strait - Andrew MacDonald

Calvin de Haan - Thomas Hickey

Matt Donovan - Matt Carkner

Kevin Poulin

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Peter Regin, Eric Boulton

Injured: Travis Hamonic (upper body), Radek Martinek (back), Evgeni Nabokov (lower body), Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion)

PANTHERS

Sean Bergenheim - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Tomas Fleischmann - Nick Bjugstad - Scottie Upshall

Jonathan Huberdeau - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Krys Barch - Drew Shore - Jimmy Hayes

Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed JovanovskiErik Gudbranson

Tim Thomas

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Scott Gomez, Mike Mottau, Shawn Matthias

Injured: Dylan Olsen (lower body), Jesse Winchester (upper body)

Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

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