The Islanders kick off their post-Christmas schedule against their Metropolitan division rivals from Newark. The Devils are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in New Jersey and both teams are 2-1-2 in their last five. The Islanders beat the Devils 4-3 in their season opener at Prudential Center on Oct. 4 and are coming off a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night.
Ahead of tonight’s game, the Islanders had an optional morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate. Tavares Out:
Captain John Tavares will miss tonight’s game with a lower body injury and is considered day-to-day. Brock Nelson will center the top line with Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo. Capuano:
I’m concerned obviously. You know what Johnny is to our hockey club. He’s not only a leader, but his play speaks for itself. He’s not ready to go and we’re not going to put him in a situation where he could further hurt himself. It’s a day-to-day situation right now. We’ll be cautious with it and hopefully he’ll feel better tomorrow. Nelson:
I have to come ready to play. It’s the same game, I can’t over think it. I just have to go out there and play. Streak Ended:
Tavares’ absence ends his 246-game ironman streak, the fifth-longest in Islanders history. The 23-year-old played the equivalent of three 82-game seasons without missing a game and has only missed three others in his Islanders career. Frans Nielsen (168 games) is the Islanders new reigning ironman. Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islander History:
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Matt Moulson 284
4. Denis Potvin 2625. John Tavares 246Lineup Notes/Changes:
Brock Nelson will center the top line and Peter Regin will take his place at wing on the third line. Matt Carkner is in for Aaron Ness. John Tavares and Eric Boulton are out for the Islanders. Nabokov in goal:
Evgeni Nabokov will make his sixth straight start for the Islanders tonight. Nabokov is coming off his first shutout of the season against the Detroit Red Wings and is 2-1-2 in his last five games. Streaking:
Kyle Okposo (two goals, two assists) Frans Nielsen (two goals, two assists) and Thomas Vanek (three goals, one assist) are all riding four-game point streaks. Michael Grabner has three goals and an assist over the last four games while Josh Bailey has assists in three straight. From the Coach:
[Kyle Okposo] is playing physical, he’s grinding it out, playing good down low, protecting the puck and he’s shooting pucks. It’s about confidence and he’s got that right now. He’s playing poised, he’s playing relaxed and when you do that you play confident and play your best hockey. He’s utilizing his size and playing real well.