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Morning Skate Updates: 4/2/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
NEWS, NOTES AND QUOTES

Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak is 1-0-0 against the Blue Jackets this season, stopping 34-of-37 shots in a 6-3 win on Feb. 14. The Islanders goaltender is 36-16-2 with a 2.42 goals against average and a .913 save percentage this season.

Nielsen Will Play:
Frans Nielsen will dress tonight for the Islanders. Nielsen’s status was unclear on Wednesday after he left the ice midway through practice.

Boulton In:
Eric Boulton will play tonight for the first time since a win in Nashville on March 5. Head Coach Jack Capuano said the forward being replaced by Boulton is to be determined.

Capuano:
I don’t mind the way we played in that stretch against the Western Conference, but to me, Boulton is a good leader, he’s an older guy, he’s been through this before and gives us that physical presence that we need and that emotion on the bench during the course of the game that we need as well.

Defense Intact:
The Islanders are going with the same pairings from Sunday’s game.

Where/When: The Islanders are Columbus tonight and play gets underway at 7 p.m. Tonight's game is on MSG+. Channel Finder

Playoff Picture:
The Islanders are seven points clear of the 9th-placed Ottawa Senators with five games remaining in the regular season, though the Senators hold a game in hand. The Islanders’ magic number to clinch is six, meaning a combination of points earned by the Isles and points lost by Ottawa.

Physical Game:
The Islanders and Blue Jackets are two of the most physical teams in the NHL. The Islanders lead the league with 2549 hits, while the Blue Jackets are fifth with 2366. Matt Martin (377) and Cal Clutterbuck (323) lead the league in bodychecks, while Travis Hamonic (207) is 20th.

The Blue Jackets also boast a few big bodies up front, namely their star players. All-star Nick Foligno leads the Blue Jackets with 182 hits, while Scott Hartnell has 155 and Brandon Dubinsky has 134 hits in 41 games.

Red-Hot Blue Jackets:
The Blue Jackets have won seven straight games and nine of their last 10.

Ryan Johansen:
Ryan Johansen is setting the pace for the Blue Jackets, with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) on an eight-game point streak. The Vancouver, BC, native has seven assists spanning six straight games.

Bobrovsky Starts:
Sergei Bobrovsky will start for the Blue Jackets tonight. The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner has won six consecutive games while posting a 2.14 GAA and .938 SV%.


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