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Morning Skate Updates: 4/4/15

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

Clinch Worthy: The Islanders can clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win over the Sabres, combined with a regulation loss by the Ottawa Senators.

Hickey on a chance to clinch: We’ve all looked at the standings. For us, we’re trying to head into the playoffs winning four in a row, not just trying to clinch. We’ll focus on tonight and re-evaluate, but it would be great if we could win all four and get home ice. That’s the bigger priority, but one step at a time. Clinching would be a good feeling.

Kulemin’s 500th:
Nikolay Kulemin is set to play his 500th career NHL game tonight. Kulemin has 223 points (97 goals, 126 assists) in 499 games, spanning seven seasons, six with the Toronto Maple Leafs and one with the New York Islanders. Kulemin has 13 goals and 15 assists this season and has played the past two games on the Islanders’ top line with John Tavares and Ryan Strome.

Halak Starts:
Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak is coming off a 36-save performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets and is 36-16-3 this season with a 2.43 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

Same Lineup:
The Islanders are going back to Thursday’s lineup.

PROJECTED LINES:
NIKOLAY KULEMIN JOHN TAVARES RYAN STROME
JOSH BAILEY FRANS NIELSEN KYLE OKPOSO
ANDERS LEE BROCK NELSON CAL CLUTTERBUCK
ERIC BOULTON CASEY CIZIKAS MATT MARTIN



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

Vs. the Sabres (at the Coliseum):
The Islanders are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games against the Sabres at the Coliseum.

Tavares and Strome:
John Tavares has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last two games, while Ryan Strome is riding a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists).

Sabres:
The Sabres enter the game with the fewest points in the NHL, but are not to be taken lightly. Buffalo has won two of their last three games and held a 3-2 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period last night, before losing 4-3 late.

Gionta:
Sabres captain Brian Gionta is on a tear of late, scoring points in eight of his last 10 contests (four goals, eight assists), including a three-game point streak (one goal, four assists). The Sabres captain has recorded two points in four of his last six games.


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