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Morning Skate Updates: 12/29/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in net for the Islanders tonight after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. Halak is 15-2 in his last 17 starts, including a 25-save win against the Capitals on Nov. 26.

It was a good time for us to give him a couple more days after the small break that we had. He’s healthy and ready to go.

Michael Grabner (lower body) participated in the Islanders optional morning skate.

I think he’s coming along quite well and we’re hoping he’ll be ready obviously when we head out to Winnipeg and head on this trip tomorrow. Good sign that he’s been working extremely hard on and off the ice and that he’ll be ready to go here shortly.

Goaltending aside, there are no further changes to the Islanders lineup.

Projected Lines:    
12 Josh Bailey 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 Nassau Coliseum tonight and the game can be seen on MSG+2. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

Top Form: The Islanders top line – Josh Bailey-John Tavares-Kyle Okposo – have combined for 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last three games.

Kyle Okposo on the top line: I think we’ve been getting better every game. Last game was definitely good, I thought we did some good things against Montreal as well. We are going to keep trying to get better. The three of us can make some plays in the offensive zone, so it’s about figuring out where each other are all going to be and how we best fit with each other.

Hot Caps: The Capitals are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games.

Holtby Starts: Braden Holtby will start in goal for the Capitals tonight. Holtby is coming off of a 34-save shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, his second shutout in four games.

200th Meeting: The Islanders and Capitals are playing for the 200th time in the regular season. The Islanders are 88-86-25 all-time against the Capitals.

Power Play: The Capitals boast the league’s fifth-best power play, with a 23.8% conversion rate.

They Said It:
Jack Capuano on John Tavares’ multi-goal game Saturday:
You knew it was just a matter of time. He was getting chances the puck wasn’t finding the back of the net. For me, when you play as solid – and work has hard – as him, you’re going to get quality opportunities, he’s our leader and obviously we need to get some secondary scoring. To see him put the red light on, is satisfying not only for our hockey club, but for him as well to take a little pressure off.

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