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New York Islanders @ Vancouver Canucks

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Team Record: 4-6-3

Last Game: 4-3 OTL vs. COL
Season Series: 0 of 1
Team Record: 8-8-1
Last Game: 4-3 L vs. ANA
Season Series: 0 of 1
Michael Grabner
Grabner, a former first round draft choice of the Canucks, scored his fifth goal of the 2011-12 season Thursday night in Colorado, giving the Isles a 3-0 lead over the Avalanche before their overtime demise. Admittedly, this season’s scoring started off slower than the Austrian forward would have liked, but for moments in the Islanders last two contests, Grabner showed he’s on track to regaining last season’s form.

“It’s going better,” Grabner said. “In the beginning of the year, I didn’t get too many offensive chances and now they’re starting to come a little bit. I think our whole line was getting chances, with Johnny (Tavares) and (Matt) Moulson the last couple games, so hopefully we can chip in a few more (Sunday) night.”

“John is obviously a great player and he’s easy to play with. He makes guys around him better. There was a little bit trying to get used to each other in the beginning, but we’re starting to figure each other out and where we’re going to be on the ice. So it’s easy to play with these guys, they’ve obviously played together for a long time and they just carry the puck in and I try to get open.”

Leading all Islanders in goals scored last season (34), his two game point streak (2 goals, 1 assist) has lifted the winger to five goals, which are second most on the team behind his centerman. Currently, his six points (one assist) are good for sixth on the Islanders leaderboard in points, a statistic he’d like to improve.

“I don’t want to miss (the net), but I’ve had the chances,” Grabner said. “(My chances) could have been the difference in the last game. I have to try to work on finishing and just put more of my opportunities in the back of the net.”
D. Sedin
D. Sedin
Daniel & Henrik Sedin
Daniel Sedin is tied for second on the league's scoring leaderboard with six goals and 14 assists for 20 points. His four power play goals tie John Tavares for third most in the league, while his eight power play assists put him over the top with a league leading 12 power play points.

H. Sedin
H. Sedin
Combine Daniel with his twin brother Henrik and the two make a lethal combination. Henrik’s five goals and 14 assists put him just one point behind his brother, just another reason the duo makes up one heck of a top line for the Canucks, adding Jannik Hansen on the right wing.

With 12 different players contributing goals on the man advantage, the Canucks power play is the second most potent in the National Hockey League. Even though the Sedin twins combine for 7 power play goals, the team has combined for 21 power play goals for and a 26.9 percent success rate.

For the Islanders, keeping out of the penalty box will be important. Look below for more info in Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano's quote of the day.
The Islanders have shown that they can come back from deficits, like they did against Washington, but they’ve also shown that they can fall apart with a lead.

“For whatever reason, we stopped moving our feet the other night in Colorado in the third period,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Granted, they ramped it up, but when a team ramps is up like that you have to respond and you have to show that determination and urgency in your game.”

Capuano continued, “We just made it tough on ourselves. We didn’t do what we did in the first and second period, chipping pucks behind their D, making them come 200 feet. We made it a half-ice game for them. When you do that and it’s a short surface for them, they’re going to capitalize.”

Playing for a full 60-minutes may be important, but containing the Canucks offense will also be a necessity. They’ve been extremely potent, scoring at least three goals in 11 of their 17 contests this season. Vancouver has also won 10 of those 11 games.

“The shot clock is going to be up again (Sunday) night, but where the shots are taken from is my concern,” Capuano said. “Guys are excited to play here (Sunday) night. They have to regroup and there’s no other choice, they’re coming off a loss. They just have to be ready to play.”
The Vancouver Canucks have dealt with their share of struggles, though few teams have been playing worse than the New York Islanders.

After an up-and-down road trip, Vancouver begins a three-game homestand Sunday night against an Islanders squad which is winless on the road.

ancouver (8-8-1) likely envisioned a better start after its run to the Stanley Cup finals last season. The Canucks have yet to put together more than two consecutive victories after finishing a 3-3-0 road trip with a 4-3 loss Friday in Anaheim.

Vancouver fell behind 4-0 after two periods, and a third-period rally in which it outshot Anaheim 22-2 fell short. (Continue Reading)

The Islanders and Canucks went the distance the last time the two teams met (Jan. 11), with the Canucks winning 4-3 in a shootout at Nassau Coliseum. Blake Comeau gave the Islanders the lead late in the third period after goals from Jack Hillen and John Tavares tied the score, but Kevin Bieksa would respond 34 seconds later to tie it up. Islanders prospect Kevin Poulin made his second career start and was shelled by Vancouver, turning aside 48 of 51. Poulin stopped Jeff Tambellini in the shootout, but Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler scored the winning goals.
- Mark Katic - Shoulder (9/24 vs. NJ) - 13 games missed (Out indefinitely)

- Rhett Rakhshani - Concussion (9/27 at CGY) - 13 games missed (Out indefinitely)
Power Play %: 17.8%
Penalty Kill %: 80.4%
Home Record: 4-3-1
Road Record: 0-3-2
Goals For: 28
Goals Against: 39
Power Play %: 26.5%
Penalty Kill %: 86.5%
Home Record: 3-2-1
Road Record: 4-6-0
Goals For: 51
Goals Against: 50
(Answer from 11/10: Al Montoya. As a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, Montoya blanked the Avalanche on April 1, 2009, stopping 23 shots en route to a 3-0 win.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart. Evgeni Nabokov will start between the pipes, Al Montoya will back up. Capuano will announce defensive scratch after the morning skate.

Canucks (Expected) Lineups
Forwards: D. Sedin-H. Sedin-Hansen, Booth-Kesler-Higgins, Ebbett-Malhotra-Hodgson, Volpatti-Lapierre-Weise

Hamhuis-Bieska, Ballard-Edler, Rome-Sulzer

Luongo, Schneider

Expected Scratches:
Burrows, Alberts, Salo

Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano on minimizing penalties: “Every game we try to show discipline, no matter who it is. You take six, seven, eight penalties a game, your chances are slim to win hockey games with the talent that’s in the National Hockey League. So for us, if we’re working and we’re doing the right things, our penalties are going to be down, but when you stop moving your feet and you’re gliding around the ice, you’re going to clutch and grab and you’re going to use your stick and that results in penalties. So the big thing for us is constant motion all the time. I really liked our shift times are real good in the second period in Colorado, and that hasn’t been a good period for us, so that was the first time in a while that guys took some pride in what they had to do."

Cory Wright contributed to this report
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