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Morning Skate Updates: 1/2/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak has won his last six decisions and is 17-2-0 in his last 19 games. Halak boasts a 2.26 GAA and a .917 SV% this season.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Head Coach Jack Capuano is going with the same lineup that won Wednesday night in Winnipeg.

Projected Lines:    
12 Josh Bailey 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee 51 Frans Nielsen 18 ryan strome
84 Mikhail grabovski 29 Brock Nelson 86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Where and When:
The Islanders are at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight and the game can be seen on MSG+2. Puck drop is at 9:00 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

I'm Coming Home: Calgary, AB, native Thomas Hickey returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome for the second time as a New York Islander. Hickey scored a goal against the Flames on Long Island, but is still looking for his first NHL goal in Alberta. As it stands, his favorite Saddledome memory was being in the stands for Marin Gelinas series’-clinching goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the Flames 2004 playoff run.

Hickey: I think this will be my fourth game here [including juniors]. Over nine years that’s not a lot, so it’s special every time I come back. It’s nice that we get to spend a couple of days here too, see some family and friends.

Hickey A Fan Favorite: Hickey was also greeted by a special guest this morning. A young Calgarian donated all of his Christmas gifts to the Flames children’s charity, so the Flames said he could meet his favorite player. He said it was Thomas Hickey and had a meet-and-greet with the Islanders defenseman.

Hiller Starts: Jonas Hiller will start in goal for the Flames tonight. Hiller – always one to have an interesting mask – has won four straight games and is 13-10-2 this season.

Hot Flames: The Flames have won four straight games after an eight game winless streak. The Flames also lead the NHL with eight comeback wins when trailing after two periods.

Gaudreau Named Rookie of the Month: Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for December after posting 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 14 games.

Gaudreau and Cronin:
Islanders Assistant Coach Greg Cronin recruited Johnny Gaudreau to play at Northeastern University when Cronin was the head coach. Gaudreau committed to Northeastern until Cronin left to take a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, so Gaudreau decommitted to play at Boston College.

Gaudreau: It was his attitude towards the game. He’s a pretty outgoing guy, talks a lot, but is tough on his players. I was pretty excited about going there and learning from him, but unfortunately he left to go coach the Maple Leafs. I thought it was best to leave and try new options.

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