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Morning Skate Updates: 10/15/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Greiss Starts: Thomas Greiss gets the start for the Islanders Thursday. Greiss is 1-0-1 in two games this season and is coming off a solid win over the Winnipeg Jets Monday.

Capuano on Greiss: Guys want to play, the more you play the more confidence you gain in yourself. He’s played well for us. He wants to get in there. For me, it’s unfortunate what happened to Jaro, but it gives Berube and Greiss an opportunity to play some hockey.

Same Lineup: If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it. The Islanders are going with the same lineup from Monday’s win.

PROJECTED LINES:

Anders Lee John TAVARES RYAN STROME
JOSH BAILEY FRANS NIELSEN KYLE OKPOSO
NIKOLAY KULEMIN MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI BROCK NELSON
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK



Halak, Hickey Skate Again:
Jaroslav Halak was on the ice before Thursday’s morning session, while Thomas Hickey participated in the team’s morning skate. Capuano said Halak is progressing along real well, but doesn’t have a time table for Hickey.

Faceoffs: Though early in the season, the Islanders are second in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 57.5%. Last season, the Islanders were a middle-of-the-pack team at the dot, winning 49.2% of draws. Frans Nielsen leads the Isles with a 67.5 win percentage, John Tavares is second with 57.6, Casey Cizikas is third with 53.7 and Mikhail Grabovski is at an even 50. Capuano said edge battles and wingers supporting the centermen are just as important to winning faceoffs.

Capuano on the importance of winning draws: When you win faceoffs you get puck possession, but most important, on the penalty kill you have a chance to get it 200 ft. and on the power play you get an opportunity to get the puck in the offensive zone.

Western Conference: The Islanders are playing a Western Conference opponent for the fourth straight game Thursday.

Weber, Josi: The Nashville offense is built around two explosive, offensively-gifted defensemen in Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Weber has a legendary 108.5 mph slap shot and produces offense year-in and year-out. His 15 goals last season were his lowest (full season) total since joining the league in 2005-06. He’s hit 23 goals twice in his career and makes forwards think twice before laying down for a block.

Thomas Greiss has seen plenty of Shea Weber during his time with the San Jose Sharks and attested to the fact that Weber has “one of the biggest bombs in the game.”

As for Josi, the 25-year-old is coming off a career year, setting highs in goals (15), assists (40) and points (55). He already has two goals this season, which is tied for the Predators team lead.

Pekka Rinne: Pekka Rinne is 3-0-0 to start the season with a 0.67 goals against average, a .975 save percentage and one shutout. Capuano said the key to beating such a dominant goaltender is being gritty around the net, looking for rebounds and dirty goals.

Forsberg and Neal: Filip Forsberg had a breakout season for the Predators in 2014-15, scoring 63 points (26G, 37A), giving the Predators a dynamic and deceptive scoring threat up front. Veteran scorer James Neal is looking rebound from a 23-goal campaign, a down-year by his standards.

Predators Radio Color Commentator Chris Mason on the Predators style of play: Since the Peter Laviolette era, the Predators want to push the pace on the forecheck and really putting a lot offensive pressure. I think the Islanders have a similar philosophy in the way they play. [The Predators] are still very systematic and have defensemen who are very mobile and can skate. They join the rush and are good enough skaters to get back.

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