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Morning Skate: Avoiding the Letdown

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Greiss In Goal: Thomas Greiss gets the start in goal for the Islanders on Friday. The Islanders’ goaltender made 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Blues on Oct. 24 and has won his last two starts. Greiss is 7-3-2 on the season with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. 

“We do look at the matchups, our goalie coaches spend a lot of time with that, the history of who we’re playing and what the schedule is," Jack Capuano said of the decision to start Greiss. "That is definitely something that goes into the decision making.” 

Same Skaters: No changes for the Islanders who have won three straight games. 

Jiggs McDonald: Jiggs McDonald has the play-by-play call for Friday’s game. 


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


PROJECTED D-PAIRS:

NICK LEDDY TRAVIS HAMONIC
CALVIN DE HAAN JOHNNY BOYCHUK
THOMAS HICKEY MAREK ZIDLICKY


Avoiding the Letdown: Islanders-Rangers games are so full of hype, heart and intensity that there’s  a natural emotional letdown against the next opponent. The Blues are coming off a loss on Tuesday, so the Islanders will need to match their intensity out of the gate. 

Travis Hamonic on avoiding the letdown: "We just have to get back to business. We have a big test tonight, big test tomorrow. We had a day between games so we can regroup. That’s just the way our schedule is, we have a lot of important games coming up. Just get right back at it. We played a really good game and probably the best game we’ve played as a team in a long time. Just try to keep moving forward and build on it." 

Backes and Tarasenko: The Blues have two different looks up front between forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes. Tarasenko is one of the NHL’s top goal scorers with a team-leading 14 tallies this season. Tarasenko is strong and fast on his skates, has a quick, hard release and is deceptively thick at 6’0, 219 lbs. Backes offers a different challenge, as the 6’3, 221 lbs. forward drives straight to the net and likes to play physical. The Islanders defensemen say that playing physical against both forwards, the skilled Tarasenko and hard-nosed Backes, is part of the game plan. 

Travis Hamonic on matching up with the Blues: "I love that challenge. For many years, it’s something I really enjoy. Obviously whoever the coaches feel I’ll matchup against, then me and Nick will. We have confidence in all our defensemen to do the job. Big test over there and we’re ready for it." 

Offensive Defensemen: The Blues have three offensive threats from their blue line, as Coloton Parayko (13 points), Kevin Shattenkirk (11) and Alex Pietrangelo (11)   have double-digit points. Shattenkirk has been especially hot in November, stringing together an eight-game point streak (2G, 8A) that was snapped on Tuesday.

Capuano on Blues' D: "They have a good d-corps back there. They are big, they are physical and they transition real well. We’re going to have to make sure we’re aware of our play away from the puck here tonight and be aware with their fourth man coming." 

Ken Hitchcock on the Islanders:

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