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Morning Skate Updates: 2/3/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak was given Saturday off, but has played 13 of the Islanders last 14 games and has a 26-10-0 record this season.

Cizikas Uncertain: Casey Cizikas is a game-time decision tonight. Cizikas did not practice yesterday after blocking a shot off the right leg Thursday night against Boston and appearing to re-aggravate the injury in Detroit. Colin McDonald will take Cizikas’ place, should he sit out tonight’s game.

Projected Lines (With Cizikas):    
91 John Tavares 12 josh bailey
27 Anders Lee 51 Frans Nielsen 18 ryan strome
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson 86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 cal clutterbuck

Projected Lines (Without Cizikas):
27 Anders Lee 91 John Tavares 12 josh bailey
84 MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI 51 Frans Nielsen 86 Nikolay Kulemin
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson 13 COLIN MCDONALD
17 Matt Martin 18 ryan strome 15 cal clutterbuck

Where/When: The Islanders are home tonight at Nassau Coliseum at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on MSG+2. Click here for channel listings.

Tavares’ 400th: John Tavares will play his 400th career NHL regular season game tonight against the Panthers. Tavares has 363 points (159 goals, 204 assists) in 399 games, all with the Islanders.

Tavares: Being in my sixth year it’s still kind of crazy to think of and I’m still pretty young. I think you don’t take any day for granted, you enjoy the ride and hopefully I have a lot more games ahead of me. I’ve played with a lot of great players. A lot of veterans early in my career and growing with the group that we have now, it’s been a lot of fun.

Avoiding Slumps:
The Islanders have rebounded with positive runs after losing consecutive games this season and look to end a two-game skid tonight. The Islanders went on a 6-1-0 run right after losing two straight in early January.

Tavares: Not only has that been a reason we’re having success, it’s a reason why we’re competing for first in the conference and first in the division. Certainly (losing streaks) make it a lot more difficult to make up ground, or to compete at the top, with stretches like that. For us, it’s been the one-game mentality, we’re confident in our team in any situation and we believe in our group. Today’s a new day, a new opportunity and that’s how we look at it.

Fisherman Jerseys:
The Islanders will wear throwback Fisherman-style jerseys for warm-ups tonight. Fans who wear Fisherman apparel can buy tickets for $25.

15 Games in 26 Days: The Islanders kick off a frantic February tonight, as the team is set to play 15 games in 26 days. The shortest month of the season features four sets of back-to-back games and the Islanders will not have consecutive days off until Feb. 25.
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