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Morning Skate Updates: 10/30/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Johnson Starts: Chad Johnson gets the start in goal for the Islanders tonight. Johnson is 3-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .891 SV% this season, but came up big for the Islanders when it mattered. The Islanders goaltender held the fort against last Thursday against the Boston Bruins, making 14-of-15 saves in the third period and held the Dallas Stars at bay on Saturday, stopping 11-of-12 in the final frame.

Lineup: Head Coach Jack Capuano is going with the same lineup from Tuesday’s game against the Jets. He did not reveal his line combinations, but the lines from the Jets game were intact at Wednesday’s practice.

Projected Lines:
89 Cory Conacher 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail grabovski 51 Frans Nielsen 86 Nikolay Kulemin
27 Anders Lee 29 Brock Nelson 18 Ryan Strome
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Where and When: The Islanders are at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO, so puck drop is at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. Tonight's game is on MSG Plus with Visa Islanders Gamenight starting at 8:30 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

Hamonic Close: Travis Hamonic will not play tonight for the Islanders, but Capuano said the Islanders defenseman “was real close to playing tonight,” but the team was going to hold him off. 

Bailey A Little Further: Josh Bailey is still further away from a return than Hamonic, but Capuano wants the Islanders forward to keep his conditioning up, hence his presence on the trip.

Capuano: We want to make sure we condition [Bailey]. It’s an upper-body injury, so we can work his legs and cardio. There’s a chance that if they go the way they can with him, we could see him on this trip.


Vs. the Avs:
The Islanders are 3-1-1 in their last five games against the Avalanche.

Kyle Okposo is on a four-game point streak, with one goal and three assists over that stretch. Okposo has a point in all but one game this season and is tied for 16th in the NHL scoring race.

Projected Defense Pairings:
2 Nick Leddy 55 Johnny Boychuk
14 Thomas Hickey 11 lubomir visnovsky
44 calvin de haan 37 brian strait

They Said It:
Chad Johnson on starting tonight: If I’m playing 10 games a year, 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60, that night I’m just worried about winning the hockey game. Regardless of the amount of the games I play, my focus is on the game at hand.

Johnny Boychuk on playing on the road:
Sometimes its easier to play on the road because you’re not trying to show off. You’re doing the right things all the time and when you’re on the road, that’s what happens. You play simple hockey and get the best results when you do that.

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