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Day 6: Morning Skate Updates

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The Islanders are bringing the heat to the Sunshine State, entering tonight’s game with a seven-game road winning streak. With an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games, the Islanders are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference.


Ahead of tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Islanders took the ice at BB&T Center for their morning skate. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate.



Road Streak: The Islanders have won seven straight games on the road and an eighth straight road win would tie a club record, set in 1981. The seven game streak is currently the second longest in franchise history.

Other Winning Streak: The Islanders have won four straight games, their longest streak of the season.

Lineup Notes/Changes:
Hamonic Out: Travis Hamonic will miss tonight’s game with an upper-body injury. Matt Carkner draws into the lineup, but head coach Jack Capuano said he will shuffle his defensive pairs. The injury ends Hamonic’s ironman streak at 117 games. Hamonic did not play in the third period of the Islanders 4-2 win at Dallas on Sunday night.

Capuano on Hamonic: When you lose a guy that’s playing 25 minutes, it’s a huge loss for our hockey team and we are going to have to make some adjustments as the game goes on, there’s no question.

Top Line: All three members of the Islanders top line recorded two points in Sunday's 4-2 win.


Thomas Vanek skates at the Isles morning skate.

Vanek: Click here to listen to Thomas Vanek's thoughts on the road trip.

DO call it a comeback: The Islanders have trailed at some point in each of their last five road victories. Head coach Jack Capuano said he wants a stronger start from his team tonight, but nobody is panicking on the bench if the Isles are down.

Poulin: Kevin Poulin has won five straight games. Tonight he makes his fifth-straight start since taking over the starting job from an injured Evgeni Nabokov.


Kevin Poulin makes a save during morning drills.

De Haan: Calvin de Haan is riding a four-game point streak (1-5-6). The rookie defenseman assisted on both the tying and winning goals Sunday night.

Tavares: John Tavares was named the NHL’s first star of the week yesterday, for the week ending on Jan. 12. Tavares had 10 points (4g/6a) in four games last week while the Islanders went 4-0-0. The Islanders captain scored the game-winning goal Sunday and is tied for second in league scoring with 56 points (21g/35a).

From the Coach: There’s been some good, there’s been some bad. We need to start on time… The impressive thing is that we’ve battled back and shown resiliency and we are working hard and playing within the team concept.


Brian Strait sends a pass across the ice at the Islanders morning skate.

Lurking Panthers: The Panthers are trying to claw their way back into the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Islanders and Panthers are separated by two points in the standings meaning this game is huge for both teams. The Isles recently leapfrogged the Panthers in the standings and if they want to continue their upward trend, they can’t get stuck in the Florida swamp.

Barkov: The Islanders will get their first live look at Aleksander Barkov, the second-overall pick in the 2013 draft. Barkov leads the Panthers with 22 points (7g/15a) in 45 games and has points in 10 of his last 14 games. The big-bodied Barkov (6’3”, 209 lbs.) was named to the Finnish Olympic team for the upcoming Winter Games.


Barkov skates at the Panthers morning skate in Florida.

Thomas: Tim Thomas will start tonight for the Panthers and is the X-factor on the Panthers. His extensive resume includes: a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe trophy and two Vezina trophies as the league’s top goaltender. The athletic goaltender almost tends to give out rebounds, but always seems to find his way to get in front of second and third opportunities. Thomas is 11-11-3 with a .916 save percentage in his first season in Florida.


Thomas was the first goalie off the ice Tuesday and will likely start tonight.

From their Coach, Peter Horachek: The Islanders are a team that transitions well. I think they are going to be a tough match.

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