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Isles Day-To-Day: Greiss, Zidlicky In; New Lines

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

DECEMBER 29 - 12:08 P.M. – GREISS IN GOAL, ZIDLICKY FOR STRAIT, NEW LINES VS. LEAFS

With Jaroslav Halak sidelined, Thomas Greiss gets the start for the Islanders against the Maple Leafs. There’s no need to worry, as Greiss is 9-5-2 on the season with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Greiss made 35 saves on Sunday against the Leafs. 

Marek Zidlicky will draw back into the Islanders lineup after sitting out the past two games, replacing Brian Strait. Zidlicky has four points (2G, 2A) in his last four games and 12 points (3G, 9A) in 30 games this season. 

Jack Capuano said he’s going to send out the new line combinations from Monday’s practice and that he intends to keep them together for a longer period of time. 

“I’m hoping right now to play these lines out here,” Capuano said. “I want to stay consistent with the lines we have now for a little while and hopefully we can get some offense.”

Tonight's game is at 7 p.m. on MSG+2. Click here for MSG's Channel Finder

PROJECTED LINES:

ANDERS LEE JOHN TAVARES JOSH BAILEY
NIKOLAY KULEMIN FRANS NIELSEN KYLE OKPOSO
BROCK NELSON MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI RYAN STROME
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK





DECEMBER 28 - 3:14 P.M.
 – HALAK DOESN'T TRAVEL, ISLES SHUFFLE PRACTICE LINES

Jaroslav Halak was absent at Monday’s practice and will not accompany the team to Toronto. Jack Capuano said Halak is still considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury and did not offer a timetable for his return. Thomas Greiss and Christopher Gibson were the Islanders two netminders in practice and Greiss is the likely starter on Tuesday night. 

As for the skating corps, Capuano juggled his lines at Monday’s practice, saying he wanted to see some new looks ahead of the road trip, where the Islanders won’t have the advantage of the last change. 

Anders Lee and Josh Bailey skated with John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin and Kyle Okposo skated with Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome skated with Mikhail Grabovski. The Islanders’ fourth line was the only one left intact. 

“We had some new lines out there today, so we got familiar with each other today, did some stuff as a unit and we feel good about our game going into tomorrow,” Nelson said. “Everyone knows that we need to be better and play better. I think it just comes down to that.”

DECEMBER 27 - 11:53 A.M. – OKPOSO IN, HALAK ON IR, GIBSON RECALLED

Jaroslav Halak was placed on injured reserve Sunday morning, retroactive to December 21. Jack Capuano said Halak picked up the injury in the Islanders' win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Thomas Greiss will start in Halak’s absence and will be backed up by Christopher Gibson, who was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday morning. Greiss is 9-4-2 is a 2.03 goals against average and a .933 save percentage this season. Gibson, who was acquired as part of the Michael Grabner trade, is 11-5-3-1 with a 1.99 GAA and a .928 SV%.

While Halak is out, Kyle Okposo is back in. The Islanders' leading scorer sat out two games with a lower-body injury, but said the advantage of taking the time when he did was that everyone else hasn’t played either

“Everybody needed [the break] and for me it was especially good timing,” Okposo said. “Usually it takes me a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things, but shouldn’t take too long. Everybody is in the same boat, so I just missed four extra days, but it’ll be good to just get out there and get back in the game. Everybody might be a little bit rusty and after the first couple of shifts it should be alright.”

Steve Bernier is coming out for Okposo. Jack Capuano did not specify which line Okposo will play on, but did say his defensive corps(.remove) will remain the same from Monday’s win.    

ISLANDERS RECALL CHRISTOPHER GIBSON

DECEMBER 26 - 4:19 P.M. – OKPOSO PRACTICES, HALAK DAY-TO-DAY

Kyle Okposo (lower body) and Jaroslav Halak (upper body) are both considered day-to-day. Despite returning to practice, Jack Capuano did not update Okposo's status, as the Islanders' forward sat out two games before the Christmas break. Okposo is the Islanders leading scorer with 26 points (8G, 18A) in 33 games this season.

"I wanted to play in every game, but it was nice to get some rest and try and let the body heal. Anytime you take that much time off the ice you're not going to feel that normal, but it (lower-body injury) felt alright, it felt better than it has, so I'm just going to try and push through it and we'll see what happens."

Unlike Okposo, Halak was absent at the team skate. The Islanders' goalie is 10-6-3 this season with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. If Halak is unable to start Sunday, Thomas Greiss will likely get the call, but Greiss’ backup would still have to be determined. Jean-Francois Berube is the Islanders third goalie, but is currently on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Stephon Williams and Christopher Gibson are the Bridgeport Sound Tigers goalies. 

Check back Sunday for further updates.  

DECEMBER 21 - 11:49 A.M. – HALAK IN GOAL, STRAIT IN LINEUP

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak made 28 saves in the Islanders 1-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. 

Brian Strait will replace Marek Zidlicky on the blue line. Jack Capuano did not alter his forward lines. Strait has two assists in 21 games this season.  

DECEMBER 20 - 10:20 A.M. – PETROV ASSIGNED TO KHL

Kirill Petrov was assigned to Ak Bars Kazan on Sunday morning. Petrov, the Islanders third-round pick in 2008, spent parts of the previous nine seasons in Russia before signing a one-year, entry-level contract over the summer. Petrov had a goal and four assists for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season, his first in the American Hockey League. 

DECEMBER TRANSACTIONS; ALL TRANSACTIONS

DECEMBER 19 - 1:09 P.M. – BERNIER IN FOR OKPOSO, HALAK IN GOAL

Steve Bernier draws into the lineup for Kyle Okposo, who is sitting out the Islanders next two games with a nagging, lower-body injury. Bernier has three points (1G, 2A) in 13 games this season, his first as an Islander. Bernier scored his first goal as an Islander against the Coyotes on Nov. 16. Bernier had an assist and his first fight of the season in his last game on Dec. 13 against New Jersey. 

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal Saturday for the Islanders. Halak had earned the Islanders a point in six straight starts (4-0-2), but had that streak snapped on Tuesday vs. the Florida Panthers. The Islanders’ goalie is 9-5-3 this season with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. 

Louis Domingue will start in goal tonight for the Coyotes.

PROJECTED LINES:

ANDERS LEE JOHN TAVARES JOSH BAILEY
brock nelson FRANS NIELSEN ryan strome
NIKOLAY KULEMIN MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI steve bernier
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK

DECEMBER 18 - 4:10 P.M. – OKPOSO TO MISS TWO GAMES

Kyle Okposo will miss the Islanders next two games with a nagging lower-body injury, according to head coach Jack Capuano.

Capuano said he wants to rest Okposo, who will miss Saturday's game against the Arizona Coyotes and Monday's game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Islanders next game is on Sunday, December 27 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Okposo is the Islanders' leading scorer with 26 points (8G, 18A) in 33 games. Okposo had a three-game point streak snapped on Tuesday, but has five points (2G, 3A) in his last five games.

DECEMBER 17 - 2:09 P.M.GREISS STARTS VS. AVALANCHE

The Islanders are going to Thomas Greiss against the Avalanche on Thursday. Greiss had a 27-save shutout, his first as an Islander on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils. Jaroslav Halak started on Tuesday, as the Islanders are trying to split their crease during a busy part of the schedule.

"We have a plan, but we want to go day by day," Jack Capuano said. "We have two good guys that have played extremely well for us and given us a chance to win. We're going to need it tonight. This is a good hockey team we're playing."

Greiss has won his last four starts and has been fantastic in his first season with the Islanders. The 29-year-old is 9-3-2 with 2.03 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

Greiss will go up against Semyon Varlamov, who also has a four-game winning streak and is coming off of a shutout.

READ: ISLANDERS LOOK TO SWEEP AVALANCHE

READ: GREISS GRINDS FOR ISLANDERS

The Islanders are going with the same skaters from Tuesday night, but Capuano did not commit to keeping the same lines/pairings.

DECEMBER 15 - 11:18 A.M.STROME IN LINEUP, HALAK IN GOAL VS. PANTHERS

After missing one game with an upper-body injury, Ryan Strome is back in the Islanders lineup on Tuesday vs. Florida. Strome was hit from behind by Andrew Bodnarchuk in the second period of Saturday's win, finished the period, but did not come out for the third. Jack Capuano said Strome could have come back against the Blue Jackets, but ultimately the Islanders erred on th side of caution.

"We just wanted to make sure things were good for him," Capuano said. "He had a day, he had a good practice yesterday, went out this morning and felt great."

Strome replaces Steve Bernier in the lineup and will assume his spot on the Islanders' third line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin.

"I thought Bernier went in there and did a great job for us, but Ryan when he's on top of his game – and he's probably playing some of the best hockey he's played here in a while - it's good to get him right back in," Capuano said.

"I want to play. I thought I had been playing pretty well lately," Strome said. "You get on a bit of a roll there and I thought our line was playing pretty well. Hopefully I can come back in and do what I've been doing. Team is on a pretty good roll right now, so we have to keep it going."

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal Tuesday for the Islanders. Halak is 9-4-3 this season with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. Halak is 4-0-2 in his last six games.

PROJECTED LINES:

BROCK NELSON JOHN TAVARES KYLE OKPOSO
ANDERS LEE FRANS NIELSEN JOSH BAILEY
NIKOLAY KULEMIN MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI RYAN STROME
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK



DECEMBER 13 – STROME DTD, CLUTTERBUCK IN VS. DEVILS

Steve Bernier fills in for Ryan Strome (DTD, upper body) on the Islanders' third line. Strome left Saturday's win after the second period and did not return.Jack Capuano said Strome "felt pretty good," but given the quick turnaround on the back-to-back set, he's opting to give Strome an extra day of rest. Capuano said he'll check with the trainers and know more this afternoon.

Cal Clutterbuck returns from a one-game absence, assuming his usual spot on the Islanders' fourth line.Marek Zidlickydraws back into the Islanders lineup replacingBrian Strait.Thomas Greiss starts the second half of the Islanders back-to-back set.

The Islanders are riding a nine-game point streak (7-0-2) and are 6-0-2 against the Metropolitan Division. They are 1-0-1 against the Devils this season.


PROJECTED LINES:

BROCK NELSON JOHN TAVARES KYLE OKPOSO
ANDERS LEE FRANS NIELSEN JOSH BAILEY
NIKOLAY KULEMIN MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI STEVE BERNIER
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK
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