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Morning Updates: 12/20/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


No Skate: The Islanders did not skate at the Coliseum this morning after arriving late last night from Detroit. Head Coach Jack Capuano and select players were made available to the media.

Halak Starts:
Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders tonight, playing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Capuano cited the relative lack of action for Halak (18 shots) in Detroit as a reason for giving him the second start in two days.

Halak has won three straight and is 17-6 on the season with a 2.30 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

[We gave up] 18 shots last night and I thought we played a pretty solid game. He’s playing well right now. So we’ll go back with him.

Same Lineup:
Capuano is going with the same lineup from last night’s win in Detroit.

Projected Lines:    
12 Josh Bailey 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail grabovski 51 Frans Nielsen 86 Nikolay Kulemin
27 Anders Lee 29 Brock Nelson 18 ryan strome
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Where and When:
The Islanders are at Nassau Coliseum tonight and the game can be seen on MSG+2. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

Third Jersey: The Islanders will wear their alternate jerseys tonight.

Rubber Match: The Islanders and Lightning wrap up their season series tonight at the Coliseum. The home team won each previous meeting by a 5-2 margin and was “rested” on both occasions facing a team that had played the night before. Both the Islanders and the Lightning played last night, so neither team will be more rested than the other.

Vasilevskiy Starts: Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal tonight for the Lightning. Vasilevskiy won his NHL debut Dec. 16, stopping 23-of-24 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Vasilevskiy was the Lightning’s first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2012 draft.

Tampa Has a “Kid Line” Too: Like the Islanders, the Lightning have three young players, Tyler Johnson (10G, 23A), Nikita Kucherov (13G, 17A) and Ondrej Palat (8G, 11A) taking a step forward in their sophomore seasons. Johnson (illness) will not play tonight, but Kucherov is riding a five-game point streak (4G, 3A).

They Said It:
Johnny Boychuk on returning to the Islanders lineup:
It felt good, sitting up in the stands and watching your team is not fun at all. They did a good job while [Travis and I] were both out and it was nice to get back out there and get a win under the belt.

Lightning Coach Jon Cooper on the Islanders: 
They’re deep, they can come at you in waves. The Tavares line is the big line, but you can’t look past that Nelson-Strome-Lee line… Their team has a similar makeup to our team.

They can play the grit game with you, they can play the speed, skill game with you, it makes them kind of dangerous. It’s probably fitting that we’ve split so far and the rubber match is tonight.

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