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At the Rink blog

Sundstrom to make NHL debut for youthful Islanders

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Sundstrom to make NHL debut for youthful Islanders

Forward Johan Sundstrom, who was called up Thursday from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, and defenseman Kevin Czuczman, who was signed Tuesday after completing his season with Lake Superior State University, each skated with the New York Islanders on Friday.

Sundstrom will make his NHL debut Friday when the Islanders host the San Jose Sharks.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said Czuczman would play his first game for the Islanders soon. Sundstrom skated on the right wing during practice, alongside Casey Cizikas and Mike Halmo.

"I am very excited," Sundstrom told the Islanders website. "This is why you work so hard every day. Now I have an opportunity here so I am happy to be here and I'll hopefully get some points. I try to be a solid two-way player. I like to be physical and shoot the puck and skate a lot."

The Sharks held an optional skate Friday after a 4-3 road win in a shootout against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. They will face a rather inexperienced Islanders team at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

With veteran forwards John Tavares and Michael Grabner injured, the Islanders will field nine players with fewer than 80 NHL games. The most experienced player, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, will start against the Sharks, with whom he played his first 10 NHL seasons. He remains San Jose's franchise leader with 293 wins, more than double the 125 wins posted by Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi, who is expected to start after Alex Stalock started in Columbus.

"He means a lot to the [Sharks] organization," San Jose forward Joe Pavelski said of Nabokov. "I liked him as a goalie; I liked him as a guy. I'm excited to have a chance to finally play against him. He means a lot to the guys in the room and the organization. He was great when he was there and he's been really good for this organization coming in and stabilizing that position."

Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Islanders:

SHARKS

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture

Tommy Wingels - James Sheppard - Marty Havlat

Adam Burish - Andrew Desjardins - Mike Brown

Dan Boyle - Matt Irwin

Jason Demers - Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Scott Hannan - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Raffi Torres, Tyler Kennedy, Matt Tennyson

Injured: Tomas Hertl (knee), Brad Stuart (upper body)

ISLANDERS

Matt Martin - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Anders Lee- Ryan Strome - Colin McDonald

Mike Halmo - Casey Cizikas - Johan Sundstrom

Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey

Travis Hamonic - Calvin de Haan

Brian Strait - Matt Donovan

Evgeni Nabokov

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Radek Martinek, Matt Carkner, Kevin Czuczman

Injured: John Tavares (knee), Michael Grabner (concussion), Eric Boulton (hand).

Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure