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Morning Skate Updates: Valentine's Day

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start tonight for the Islanders. Halak won his 30th game of the season Thursday – a career-high – and is on a four-game winning streak.

De Haan/Grabner: Calvin de Haan and Michael Grabner participated in the team’s optional morning skate. Capuano said Grabner is coming along well and suspects he could return to the lineup soon, but did not offer a timetable. As for de Haan, Capuano said he doesn’t want to change the lineup on a three-game winning streak and that it’s not a bad thing to give the defenseman some rest during a compressed schedule.

Lineup: The Islanders are rolling out the same lineup from Thursday’s win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

27 Anders Lee 91 John Tavares 12 josh bailey
84 MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI 51 Frans Nielsen 18 ryan strome
15 Cal clutterbuck
29 Brock Nelson 86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 13 COLIN MCDONALD

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

Vs. the Jackets: The Islanders are 4-0-2 in their last six games against the Blue Jackets on Long Island.

Anders Moulson?: After scoring two goals Thursday – and a majority of his 18 goals this season – in the dirty areas around the net, Anders Lee drew comparisons to former-Islander Matt Moulson from Head Coach Jack Capuano and John Tavares.

Capuano: He does [remind me of him]. Matty was one of those guys – and people questioned his skating as well – but he got the job done and scored some big goals for us. They have similar personalities, hard-working guys and both left shots. To me, it pays dividends when you go [to the front of the net]. There are a lot of guys who talk the talk about wanting to get to the paint, those dirty areas, where you are going to pay the price. You have to do it and Anders is one of those guys that does it.

Tavares: He’s someone as similar to Matt as I’ve played with since Matt was traded. Just a nose for the net, gets very good body position, knows how to get his stick open and be in the right spots.

Vs. the Metro: The Islanders are 17-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division this season, including a 10-0-0 record at home.

Tavares: [Our divisional record] has killed us in the past. We know this is where the majority of the games are played and that’s where a lot of the playoff races are with the new playoff structure. Certainly they are important games and our building has been full and electric and gives us an extra boost, extra energy and it’s been a lot of fun.

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