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Game Preview: Islanders at Red Wings

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders recalled Colin McDonald Friday, one day before the team’s 2 p.m. matinee against the Red Wings.


McDonald joins the team in Detroit in case Casey Cizikas is unable to play after blocking a Milan Lucic shot in the second period of Thursday’s game. Cizikas took a “maintenance” day Friday, but made the trip to Detroit.

“We only have 12 forwards,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We’re going on the road and a few guys have bumps and bruises, so we wanted to make sure we have an extra player.”

McDonald played two seasons with the Islanders, appearing in 115 of 130 games over the course of the full and lockout-shortened seasons. This season he has 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 38 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after being loaned to the Islanders AHL affiliate in October.

“If he plays, you know what you’re getting,” Capuano said. “He understands the system and the way that we need to play. He’s a hard-nosed guy. He went down to Bridgeport and did everything that we asked him to do. If he gets the opportunity I know he’ll go in and work hard for us.”

“That’s all you can do,” McDonald said. “It’s easy to go down with a bad attitude and feel sorry for yourself, but that’s not going to get you anywhere at the end of the day.”

McDonald practiced with Brock Nelson and Nikolay Kulemin Friday, while Ryan Strome skated between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. Capuano said he’s liked Strome with those physical wingers in the past. Strome is also a natural center and possesses the versatility to move around the lineup.

“I’ve played a handful of games on the fourth line this year,” Strome said. “It’s just a matter of doing the same things; working hard, keeping the game simple and taking the opportunities when you have them.”

The Islanders are 8-1-1 in their last 10 against the Red Wings and have won five straight in the Motor City. The Islanders beat the Red Wings 2-1 in Detroit on Dec. 20.

The Red Wings are led by top-scorer Henrik Zetterberg (15 goals, 30 assists) and mainstay Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals, 21 assists), but the emergence of young guns Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar have propelled the Wings back up the Eastern Conference standings.

Tatar leads the Red Wings with 21 goals, while Nyquist is second on the team in both goals (19) and points (37).

“They have a real good mix of young players that possess a lot of speed,” Capuano said. “It’s a great feeder system in Grand Rapids. They’ve been doing a good job, and they draft well. It’s a credit to them because when they put those young guys in the lineup, they don’t rush them. They’ve paid their dues down there and they’ve played extremely well.”

The Wings are still without goaltender Jimmy Howard, who suffered a groin tear on Jan. 10. Howard’s absence hasn’t slowed down the Red Wings, who won six straight games before losing 5-1 to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Puck drop from Detroit is at 2 p.m.

New York Islanders
32-15-1 (65 points – 1st in Metropolitan Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
15-10-1 road
Detroit Red Wings
28-12-9 (65 points - T-2nd in Atlantic Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
16-4-6 home
2:00  p.m.
Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

Television:
MSG+
Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders News:
- Visnovsky off IR (Jan. 31)
- The Breakdown: John Tavares (Jan. 30)
- Bruins 5, Islanders 2 (Jan. 29)
- Grantland: Saying Good-bye to Nassu Coliseum (Jan. 29)
Islanders player to watch
Michael Grabner - Forward

Michael Grabner scored the Islanders second goal – a deflection – in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. The goal gives Grabner five on the season and three in his last five games, after missing a bulk of time early this season. The fifth-year Islander is eight goals shy of 100 for his career and is three games shy of 300.
Red Wings player to watch
Henrik Zetterberg- Forward

Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 49 games this season. The Red Wings captain had nine points (five goals, four assists) on a four-game point streak that was snapped Thursday against the Lightning. Zetterberg scored the Wings lone goal against the Islanders on Dec. 20.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
84 Mikhail Grabovski 91 John Tavares 12 Josh Bailey
12 Josh Bailey51 Frans Nielsen18 Ryan Strome
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson86 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
14 Thomas Hickey37 Brian Strait

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Detroit Red Wings previous game lines
Forwards
14 Gustav Nyquist - 40 Henrik Zetterberg - 8 Justin Abdelkader
21 Tomas Tatar - 13 Pavel Datsyuk - 43 Darren Helm
90 Stephen Weiss - 15 Riley Sheahan - 41 Luke Glendening
20 Drew Miller - 18 Joakim Andersoon - 26 Tomas Jurco

Defensemen
52 Jonathan Ericsson - 55 Niklas Kronwall
27 Kyle Quincey - 65 Danny DeKeyser
2 Brendan Smith - 61 Xavier Ouellet

Goaltenders
34 Petr Mrazek
38 Thomas McCollum


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