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Morning Skate Updates: 2/16/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak gets the nod in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak can tie the Islanders all-time single-season wins record (32) with a victory tonight. Three goals – Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro – currently share the single-season wins record. Halak is 3-0-0 with one shutout against the Rangers this season.

No Lineup Changes:
Head Coach Jack Capuano is adopting an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude, sticking with the same lineup from Thursday and Saturday’s wins.

27 Anders Lee 91 John Tavares 12 josh bailey
84 MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI 51 Frans Nielsen 18 ryan strome
86 Nikolay Kulemin
29 Brock Nelson 15 Cal clutterbuck
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 13 COLIN MCDONALD

Where/When: The Islanders are back home at Nassau Coliseum tonight at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on MSG+. Click here for channel listings.

Isles-Rangers: The archrivals get set for their fourth meeting this season. The Islanders won the first three matchups by an aggregate score of 13-4.

Capuano: It’s about intensity level. When you play these games you have to be ready to battle. You talk about your compete level, you talk about all of the intangibles that go into winning a hockey game. This game right here is going to be big.

Playoff Implications: The Islanders lead the Rangers by four points in the standings, but the Rangers have two games in hand. An Islanders win gives them Hampton-esque separation from their Manhattan rivals, but a loss will feel like being in Long Island City, with Manhattan lurking close by. 

Tavares on the Importance of Tonight's Game:
There is a bit more on the line now because of the standings. The passion was always there, the buildings were always full, the energy was always there from the fans, there’s just more on the line… with the division, playoff races and both teams being right in the thick of things that adds emphasis to the game.

Islanders on the Rivalry:
Frans Nielsen: The games have always been good, it didn’t matter where we were in the standings, they were always close games when we played these guys. It definitely means a little more now, it’s not just beating the Rangers, it’s big points for the standings, that’s the biggest difference from the other years.

Capuano: It means a lot, it’s about the history and about the tradition of the game itself and the building now, this being the last year at the Coliseum.

Vs. the Metro: The Islanders are 18-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division this season, including an 11-0-0 record at home.

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