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PRE-GAME REPORT: Atlanta at Islanders

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Nassau Coliseum, 7:00 pm (FSN, Bloomberg 1130)

The Islanders will need to find a way against a struggling, but extremely talented young team tonight when they face the Atlanta Thrashers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7:00 pm.

They will do it without two key veterans as Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel are out with injuries. With the Islanders not having games the last two days and having a day off before facing the Rangers at the Garden on Thursday night, there's a good chance Steve Stirling will go to a short bench. In other words, expect to see a lot of the top two lines and defense pairings.

The Islanders will need to be on top of their game because it seems only a matter of time before Ilya Kovalchuk and the rest of the potentially explosive Thrashers break out. It's the Islanders' job to make sure it's not tonight.

Islanders vs. Thrashers: The Islanders have an all-time record of 11-7-2-0 vs. the Atlanta Thrashers.  At the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders are 5-5-0-0 and their record on the road in Atlanta against the Thrashers is 6-2-2-0.

The Islanders, who have not lost a season series to the Thrashers since the 1999-2000 season, have won the last two meetings, winning 3-0 at Philips Arena on January 24, 2004 and 4-0 at the Coliseum on December 13, 2003. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie at Philips Arena on October 14 and the Thrashers posted a 4-3 win at the Coliseum on November 8, 2003.

- Forward Mark Parrish is out of the lineup due to a hip strain injury and is day-to-day.
- Defenseman Brent Sopel is out of the lineup due to a left wrist sprain and is day-to-day.

Total Man-Games Lost (After 8 games): 8  
2003-04 Total Man-Games Lost (After 8 games): 0

October 14 - The Islanders recalled goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport.
October 17 - The Islanders reassigned goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to Bridgeport.

- Center Alexei Yashin extended his point streak to six games with two points (1+1) in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Canadiens.  Yashin, who leads the team in scoring with nine points (4+5), has recorded eight points (3+5) in the last six games and has a point in seven of eight games this season.

- Defenseman Alexei Zhitnik has a four-game point streak and assist streak in progress with 0-6-6 totals.  Zhitnik, who is second on the team in scoring with eight points (1+7), has recorded a point in six of eight games this season. He recorded his 400th career point with an assist on Alexei Yashin's first period power play on Wednesday against the Rangers. Signed by the Islanders as a free agent on August 2, Zhitnik has 82 goals and 322 assists in 891 career NHL games. Zhitnik has recorded six assists in the last six games. Zhitnik was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (81st overall) of the 1991 Entry Draft.

- Right wing Miroslav Satan has four goals in the last three games. Satan scored two power play goals in Saturday's 4-3 loss at Montreal.  He has scored a goal in five of eight games this season.  He is tied for third on the team in scoring with seven points (6+1).  Satan has recorded a point in six of eight games.

- RW Aaron Asham recorded his first shorthanded goal since he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens (1999-00 season) on Thursday against the Rangers. The goal was Asham's first of the season and the shorthanded tally was his first while as a member of the New York Islanders. He assisted on Miroslav Satan's first period goal and then added the shorthanded goal 1:47 into the second period to collect his first multiple-point game of the season. The assist was also his first point of the season. Asham was drafted by the Canadiens in the third round (71st overall) of the 1996 Entry Draft.  He was traded to the Islanders with Montreal's fifth round choice (Marcus Paulsson) in the 2002 Entry Draft for Mariusz Czerkawski, June 22, 2002. Asham played in parts of four seasons with Montreal, recording 20 points (11+9) and 138 penalty minutes in 121 games with the Canadiens.

- RW Mark Parrish recorded his first multiple-goal game of the season as he recorded two goals, including the game-winning goal in Thursday's 5-4 win over the New York Rangers.  Parrish scored both goals while the Islanders were on the power play.  The last time he scored two goals in a game was against the Montreal Canadiens on March 31, 2004.  It was the first time in his career that he has recorded two power play goals in a game. Overall, Parrish has recorded five points (3+2) in seven games this season.  Prior to missing Saturday's game at Montreal with a hip strain, he had a two-game point streak in progress with 2-1-3 totals and registered a point in four of the first seven games of the season. Parrish missed 23 games (1/1/04-2/21/04) with an ankle injury.  He will not play tonight against the Thrashers.

IN OCTOBER: The Islanders play 11 games during October this season, five at home and six on the road.  So far this month, the Islanders are 4-4-0-0, with four games remaining this month, three at home and two on the road. Last season, the Islanders were 4-3-2-0 during October.

PLAYING AT HOME: The Islanders are 2-1-0 at home this season, scoring nine goals and allowing eight. The Islanders opened up the home portion of their schedule with a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on October 8, but dropped a 3-1 decision to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 10. The Islanders will play four of their next six games at home.

TOUGH TO BEAT AT HOME: The Islanders had a record of 25-11-4-1 at home during the 2003-04 season.  The Islanders ranked first in the East and third in the NHL in home wins. The 25 wins and 55 points at home were the most in 19 years (1985-86 season).  During the 2003-04 campaign, the Islanders had a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3-0) in February marked the longest streak since the 1989-90 season.

PLAYING ON THE ROAD: The Islanders are 2-3-0 on the road this season, scoring 16 goals and allowing 20. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a 13-18-7-3 record on the road.

LEADING AFTER TWO: The Islanders are unbeaten in 55 games (47-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5 when leading after two periods. The Islanders outscored their opponent, 87-61 in the third period in 2003-04. The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.

FIRST GOAL: The Islanders are 3-1 this season when scoring first and 1-3 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. Buffalo, Carolina, Philadelphia and Montreal have scored first in games against the Islanders this season, while New York has scored first against Carolina, Washington and the Rangers (twice). In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first. They were 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game.

POWER PLAY: The Islanders were 2-8 on the power play on Saturday at Montreal. The Islanders have scored a power play goal in seven of eight games, including two each in the last three games. Overall, the Islanders are 10-59 (16.9%) on the power play. In 2003-04, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games. They had a record of 27-9-3, including a mark of 16-4-1at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.

PENALTY KILL: The Islanders killed off six of the Canadiens' eight power play chances on Saturday. Overall, the Islanders have killed off 56 of 66 (84.8%) power play attempts in eight games this season. The Islanders are ranked 11th in the league in penalty kill. The Islanders have recorded three shorthanded goals this season.  Arron Asham scored a shorthanded goal in the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Rangers on Thursday. Earlier in the season, Shawn Bates scored the first short-handed goal of the season in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday and Jason Blake scored a short handed tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.

SHOTS ON GOAL: The Islanders have been outshot, 278-229, through the first eight games of the 2005-06 season.   The Islanders have been outshot in six of the eight games.  They have a record of 2-2 in games when they have outshot the opponent. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game twice during the season, and have a record of 1-1.

BACK-TO-BACK: The Islanders complete their first set of back-to-back games with a sweep of the New York Rangers on Thursday at home. The Islanders are scheduled to play 10 sets of back-to-back games during the 2005-06 regular season, four fewer than they had in 2003-04.  The Islanders played 14 back-to-back sets in 2003-04, posting a 13-13-1-1 record in those 28 contests; 8-6-0-0 in the first games of back-to-back sets and 5-7-1-1 in the second games.

BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS' UPDATE: The Bridgeport Sound Tigers lost to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 8-3 on Sunday at the Arena at Harbor Yard. Justin Papineau, Matt Koalska and Travis Brigley scored for the Sound Tigers.

Papineau leads the Sound Tigers in scoring with nine points (5+4) in eight points.  He is tied for 13th in the league in scoring.

The Sound Tigers will look to snap their two-game losing streak when they visit the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday at the Hartford Civic Center (7:05 p.m. start).

Wednesday, October 26: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 27: Game-day skate at Madison Square Garden, Game vs. NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 28: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 29: Game-day skate at Nassau Coliseum (10-11:15 a.m.). Game vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 30: Off
Monday, October 31: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 27 at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 29 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 5 at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8 at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 10 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 12 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Monday, November 14 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 16 at Atlanta, 7 p.m.

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