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Nabokov to get first start against Rangers

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
The Islanders are set to play their final game of a four-game homestand at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has received the call from Head Coach Jack Capuano. This will be Nabokov’s first NHL start since playing for the San Jose Sharks 17 months ago.

Nabokov said he’s excited to play his first regular season contest as an Islander, but added, “I don’t have many expectations. I just prepare the same way I’ve always prepared. I come out and just try to do my job, which is give the guys a chance to win. That’s the only mentality I’m going in with.”

Evgeny Nabokov skates against the Boston Bruins at the Webster Bank Arena on October 1, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Despite being out of the league for so long, Nabokov is an experienced veteran. He played in the Sharks organization for 10 seasons, where he posted a .912 save percentage and 2.39 goals against average in 563 career games.

He came to camp prepared and said he felt good physically. To go along with his comfort level with the organization, his new teammates have helped him to feel comfortable from the first day he got to camp.

“The one thing is practice and the game is totally different,” Nabokov said.

He added, “In practice everything seems fine, no problem. But in a game, it’s a different situation; (you have to factor in) the penalty kill, the power play, the breakaways. There are so many different situations so you just have to prepare for the game in practice.”

Nabokov couldn’t have received the nod for a better game. He’ll be playing in front of a sold-out crowd against the Islanders biggest rival, the New York Rangers.

“I hope the atmosphere is going to be great,” Nabokov said. “I hope a lot of people are going to come out and watch the game and I hope the building is going to be buzzing. Hopefully we will come out in full force and we give the fans everything they expect from us.”

Notes: Islanders forward PA Parenteau said he and his teammates are psyched for the game. However, they need to be prepared for whatever the Rangers throw at them Saturday. Being off for seven days between games can leave a lot up in the air.

“You never know what to expect when a team is off for seven days,” Parenteau said. “They can come with their best, they can come with their worst. We’re going to have to be ready for their best. We know they have a good team with a lot of depth up front especially, as well as a great goalie.”

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