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Morning Updates: 12/9/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Halak had an 11-game winning streak snapped on Saturday. He is 14-5-0 this season with a 2.26 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

Cizikas to IR: Casey Cizikas (upper body) was placed on IR retroactive to Dec. 6.

Visnovsky Activated: Lubomir Visnovsky was activated off the team’s injured reserve. Visnovsky missed four games with an upper-body injury and will play with Thomas Hickey.

Bailey Returns: Josh Bailey returns to the lineup after missing the previous two games.

Lineup: Ryan Strome has assumed Cizikas’ spot on the fourth line. Michael Grabner will skate alongside Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, while Bailey will take Grabner’s spot with Frans Nielsen and Mikhail Grabovski. Griffin Reinhart will be paired with Calvin de Haan, while Brian Strait plays with Nick Leddy.

Projected Lines:  
86 Nikolay Kulemin 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail grabovski 51 Frans Nielsen 12 Josh Bailey
27 Anders Lee 29 Brock Nelson 40 Michael grabner
17 Matt Martin 18 ryan strome 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Where and When:
The Islanders are at Xcel Energy Center tonight in St. Paul, MN and the game can be seen on MSG+2. Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

Backstrom Starts: Niklas Backstrom starts in goal tonight for the Wild. Backstrom is 3-2-1 this season with a 1.97 GAA and a .917 SV%. The Finnish goaltender will play his 400th career NHL game tonight.

They’re Goin' Home: The Islanders have four players – Nick Leddy, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Kyle Okposo – from Minnesota, while Cal Clutterbuck spent parts of six seasons with the Wild. Nelson estimates that he has over 50 friends and family coming to tonight’s game.

Okposo: I grew up just down the block, it’s fun to come back, see the old stomping grounds for a day and come play, but once game day hits, it’s business as usual.

They Said It:
Minnesota Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo on the Islanders:
They are a very skilled team, very deep up front. They are obviously a very confident group and for good reason. They are playing a very good brand of hockey right now. The first thing you have to look at is the skill. They have a group that can skate, they can definitely compete, but they can break you down if you’re not completely sharp in your game, not completely sharp with the puck, then they’ll make you pay.

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