Nick Leddy faces off against his former team tonight as the New York Islanders host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum.
Leddy played his first four NHL seasons – 258 games – in Chicago before he was dealt to the Islanders in October.
“It’s going to definitely be strange,” Leddy said. “I played there for four years and had some great memories. This is my team now and it’s time to focus on getting back onto a winning streak.”
Leddy has fit in well since joining the Islanders, scoring 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 29 games. He has seen his role increase with the Islanders, averaging four more minutes of ice time per game than in his last year with Chicago, where he played behind elite defensemen on the depth chart.
“Obviously they have a quality set of defense in Chicago and we were happy to get him,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “He’s a guy who is very elusive on the back end. He’s an elite skater. He’s fit right in. He’s a great team guy. He’s added a dimension to our game that we needed.”
“Things have worked out, not only for Nick, but for us as well.”
The Islanders got some good news at practice on Friday, as injured defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic and forward Casey Cizikas all skated with the team. Boychuk was limited to skating drills, but Head Coach Jack Capuano said Hamonic and Cizikas were “progressing well” and he would likely have further updates at today’s morning skate.
Just seeing their teammates take a step forward was a morale boost for the Islanders after a winless, two-game road trip.
“It’s always good to see guys getting healthy and getting back,” captain John Tavares said. “We know the impact they can make for us in our lineup, so it’s good to see them getting better.”
The Blackhawks enter tonight’s game red-hot, having won eight in a row. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews left Chicago’s win over Boston on Thursday night with an upper-body injury, but did travel with the team to Long Island. Injured goaltender Corey Crawford skated with the Blackhawks for the first time Thursday, but Head Coach Joel Quinville told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was a “long shot” to play against the Islanders.
Scott Darling has started – and won – the Blackhawks last three games, allowing two goals or fewer in each contest. Darling has been splitting time with Antti Raanta since Crawford suffered a lower-body injury off the ice.
Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in goals (13) and points (27) through 29 games. Kris Versteeg leads the team with 15 assists.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Stay tuned to NewYorkIslanders.com all day for further updates.