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Preview: Islanders at Blue Jackets

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (16-8-4) VS. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (11-17-2)

7 P.M. NATIONWIDE ARENA, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDERWNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM

MORNING SKATE UPDATES:

FOUR THINGS:

1. ISLANDERS PLAYING NEW JACKETS:

The New York Islanders were catalysts for change in Columbus. 

The Islanders beat the Blue Jackets 4-0 on Oct. 20, causing Columbus to bring in coach John Tortorella in place of Todd Richards. At the time of the Islanders’ win, Columbus was 0-8-0. Since then, the Blue Jackets are 11-9-2. 

Tortorella is renowned for his block-heavy, defense-first style, as well as his fiery, brutally honest demeanor. He holds his players accountable and makes tough decisions, like scratching second-leading scorer Scott Hartnell for a game and dropping Brandon Saad down to the fourth line. 

The Blue Jackets are still one of the most physical teams in the NHL (3rd in hits) and the Islanders can expect another hard-hitting contest against the big-bodied Jackets. 


2. DIVISIONAL PLAY: 

The Islanders are 5-0-2 against the Metropolitan Division this season and 26-6-5 vs. the Metro since the start of last year. 

“I don’t think you can go too far in the regular season or the playoffs if you don’t play well inside your division,” Martin said. “I don’t think you’ll even make it. They are important games, games you need to win and we’ve been doing a better job at that.”

READ: FLIPPING THE SCRIPT - ISLES ON RUN VS. METRO DIVISION

3. CLUTTERBUCK DTD/BOULTON OFF IR:

Cal Clutterbuck was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after leaving Tuesday’s win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Clutterbuck skated on Friday, but Jack Capuano said with the Islanders’ upcoming schedule – six games in 10 days – he doesn’t want to rush his forward back into the lineup until he’s 100 percent healthy. 

Eric Boulton was taken off the team’s injured reserve list Friday. Boulton was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 17 with a lower-body injury. Capuano said Boulton or Steve Bernier will fill in for Clutterbuck, should he miss Saturday’s game. 

4. GOOD GOALIES:

As is customary with back-to-back games, the Islanders are likely to split the workload between Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Both goaltenders have been rock solid for the Islanders this season. Halak and Greiss each have eight wins, nearly an identical save percentage (.925 for Halak, .928 for Greiss) and both have stellar goals-against averages (2.05 for Halak, 2.18 for Greiss). Halak had a 37-save shutout in the Islanders’ first game against Columbus this season. 

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