The New York Islanders are set to face off in their season opener against the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. (MSG+2, MSG, WNYM AM 970, 88.7 WRHU, WRCN 103.9 FM).
The Islanders held morning skate on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, where Jack Capuano announced his lineup and addressed the media. Keep reading for news, notes and quotes from morning skate.
Jaroslav Halak will start in goal. Anthony Beauvillier will make his NHL debut, while Mathew Barzal will be a healthy scratch. Anders Lee skated on Thursday morning, but is considered a game-time decision. If Lee can't go, he'll be replaced by Alan Quine.
Chimera poised to start on the top line:
Jason Chimera is likely to start on the top line tonight, skating on the right side with John Tavares and Andrew Ladd.
"I liked what I saw today, I liked the speed of that line," Capuano said on Tuesday after Islanders practice. "Johnny is obviously one of those guys that thinks the game real well and Andrew goes to the net and Chimera has some speed."
Capuano said he's keeping Nikolay Kulemin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck together for the opener, but didn't disclose his second and third line combinations, likely waiting until Lee can forsure go.
Anthony Beauvillier is set to make his NHL debut tonight. The Islanders selected Beauvillier 28th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old forward was a stud in the Quebec League, racking up 206 points (91G, 115A) in 178 games with the Shawinigan Cataractes, but earned his roster spot with reliable play away from the puck and a willingness to battle despite being 5'11, 170 lbs.
Jack Capuano on Anthony Beauvillier:
"I thought he played with some grit and some speed. He was up and down there a little bit, I think the game in Washington was something that he had to watch to figure out when things pick up, but I want to take a look at him, we want to take a look at him and see what he can do."
Barzal will wait for opportunity:
Mathew Barzal's NHL debut will wait at least one game. Capuano said the biggest hurdle for the 2015 first-rounder (16th) is the logjam at center.
Jack Capuano on Mathew Barzal:
"We know what Barzal can do. But with [John] Tavares, [Casey] Cizikas, [Brock] Nelson and [Ryan] Strome, does one of those guys come out [of the middle] I don't know. Barzal obviously had some points - he led our team - so we'll see."
|LEFT WING ||CENTER ||RIGHT WING |
|ANDREW LADD ||JOHN TAVARES ||JASON CHIMERA |
|ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER ||BROCK NELSON ||JOSH BAILEY |
|ANDERS LEE ||RYAN STROME ||SHANE PRINCE |
|NIKOLAY KULEMIN ||CASEY CIZIKAS ||CAL CLUTTERBUCK |
|LEFT ||RIGHT |
|NICK LEDDY ||TRAVIS HAMONIC |
|THOMAS HICKEY ||JOHNNY BOYCHUK |
|CALVIN DE HAAN ||DENNIS SEIDENBERG |
Message from the captain:
Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the Rangers on Thursday night.
Kevin Klein is out for the Rangers, Nick Holden is in and will play with Marc Staal.
College free agent Jimmy Vesey will make his NHL debut on Thursday, while former Ottawa Senator Mika Zibanejad will make his Rangers debut. Vesey is expected to skate with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello, while Zibanejad practiced with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich.