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Morning Skate Updates 4/1/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

The Islanders face off against the Florida Panthers for the third and final time this season Tuesday night. The Islanders dropped the first two meetings this year and are looking to avoid the season sweep. Of course, with so many new faces in the Islanders lineup, a number of players enter tonight’s game without memory of the two losses.

The Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four games and are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. In contrast, the Panthers are 1-3-0 and are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Devils last night.

Both teams are battling injuries right now, as Panthers stars Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov are all out of the lineup with injuries.

Ahead of tonight’s game, the Islanders held a morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate.

Lineup Notes/Changes:

Grabner Skates: Michael Grabner took the ice today with the team for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 10 in Vancouver. Grabner skated without contact and is not in the lineup for tonight’s contest.

Capuano on Grabner: Things seem to be going pretty well for him right now. As we move forward later this week – Thursday or Friday – we’ll have a better idea of where he’s at for the weekend.

He’ll be non-contact here for a few days and we’ll see how he moves forward. If things work out, he can be available for the weekend.

McDonald for the Masterton: Colin McDonald was announced as the Islanders nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Professional Hockey Writers of America (PWHA). One player per team is nominated for the award, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

McDonald: It’s nice to be recognized for all my hard work and for the path I took to make it here. It was different than some other guys.

I just always believed that I could play at this level. I had some good years in the American league and felt like eventually I was going to get a chance. I wasn’t sure what team or when it would happen. I’m thankful it happened with this organization because I am really happy here.

Seein’ the Boyes: Former-Islander Brad Boyes scored his 20th goal of the season last night in New Jersey. Boyes, a former 40-goal scorer, eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Special Teams: The Panthers have the league’s 30th ranked power play (9.8%) and penalty kill (75.2%).

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