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Game Preview: Islanders at Canucks

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders look to recapture their winning ways when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena tonight at 10:00 p.m.


The Islanders (26-12-1) had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday night in Edmonton, falling 5-2 to the Oilers. The team was admittedly not pleased with their effort in Northern Alberta and is hungry to right the ship on Canada’s scenic West Coast.

The team will look to channel the spirit of their remarkable comeback from last season’s meeting at Rogers Arena. The Islanders scored seven third-period goals in a 7-4 comeback win over the Canucks, tying a team record for goals in a period.

However, both teams have made some major changes since that meeting. Longtime Canuck Ryan Kesler was shipped down the Pacific Coast to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Bonino, while defenseman Jason Garrison was returned to the state of Florida in a trade with Tampa Bay.

The Canucks have also reset in goal, adding veteran Ryan Miller to play with Eddie Lack. Miller is enjoying a stellar season, with an 20-8-1 record, 2,46 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

The Islanders offseason moves are well-documented, as Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolay Kulemin, Chad Johnson and Jaroslav Halak have all been impact players for the Islanders this season.

Offensively, the Canucks are led by the Sedin twins, who are both in the midst of bounce-back seasons statistically. When one Sedin scores, the other is usually part of the play, as was the case Saturday, when both of Henrik’s goals were assisted by Daniel.

Henrik netted his 200th and 201st career NHL goals Saturday and is the Canucks all-time scoring leader with 876 points (201 goals, 675 assists). Predictably, Daniel is second on the all-time list with 840 points (315 goals, 525 assists).

Radim Vrbata completes the Canucks top line, drawing a favorable assignment playing with two of the league’s top playmakers. Vrbata has 16 goals in his first season with the Canucks and has goals in three straight games.

Head Coach Jack Capuano has not named his starter, but despite Sunday’s loss, the Islanders still have one of the league’s hottest goaltenders in Halak. The Isles goaltender had a seven-game winning streak prior to Sunday and is 18-3-0 in his last 21 games.

The Islanders are 6-3-3 vs. the Canucks in their last 12 meetings.

Puck drop from Rogers Arena is tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern time.

New York Islanders
26-12-1 (53 points – T-1st in Metropolitan Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
12-8-1 road
Vancouver Canucks
22-12-3 (47 points T-2nd in Pacific Division, T-5th in Western Conference)
10-6-1 home
10:00  p.m.
Rogers Arena

Vancouver, BC

Television:
MSG+
Play-by-play: Jiggs McDonald
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King; Color: Greg Picker
Islanders News:
- Islanders Prospect Report (Jan. 5)
- Oiler 5, Islanders 2 (Jan. 4)

- Post-Game Video (Jan. 4)
Islanders player to watch
Brock Nelson - Center

Brock Nelson busted out of a six-game goalless drought with a power-play marker in Sunday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The slump is indicative of the tougher competition Nelson is facing, as he emerges as one of the Islanders top scoring threats. The second-year center is second on the team in goals (15) and is tied with Ryan Strome for third in points with 28. 

Canucks player to watch
Henrik Sedin - Center

Henrik Sedin scored his 200th career NHL goal Saturday night, as part of a three-point effort (two goals, one assist) in a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks captain is riding a three-game point streak (two goals, three assists) and has points in five of his last six games. Sedin is second in team scoring – behind brother Daniel – with 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) this season.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
12 Josh Bailey
91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee 51 Frans Nielsen 18 Ryan Strome
84 Mikhail Grabovski
29 Brock Nelson
86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin
– 
53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

2 Nick Leddy 55 Johnny Boychuk
44 Calvin de Haan
3 Travis Hamonic
11 Lubomir Visnovsky 11 Thomas Hickey

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Vancouver Canucks previous game lines
Forwards
22 Daniel Sedin - 33 Henrik Sedin - 17 Radim Vrbata
20 Chris Higgins - 13 Nick Bonino - 36 Jannik Hansen
27 Shawn Matthias - 15 Brad Richardson - 9 Zack Kassian
14 Alexandre Burrows - 53 Bo Horvat - 51 Derek Dorsett

Defensemen
23 Alex Edler - 8 Chris Tanev
18 Ryan Stanton - 3 Kevin Bieksa
5 Luca Sbisa - 6 Yannick Weber

Goaltenders
30 Ryan Miller
31 Eddie Lack


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