NEW YORK ISLANDERS (7-4-3) VS. BOSTON BRUINS (6-6-1)
5 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS
1. Strome to Bridgeport: Ryan Strome was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday evening. Strome had gone five games without a point after being scratched two weeks ago against the St. Louis Blues.
“He’s a little devastated and obviously wants to be here,” John Tavares, Strome’s roommate, said. “He knows he can play better. He’s a motivated kid, so he’s going to challenge himself to work and work on his game, go down there and play hard and do what he has to get back here. I have no doubt he’ll be back here soon.”
Head coach Jack Capuano said Strome’s contractual status played into the decision – he did not have to pass through waivers – as well as the need to build some confidence in the American Hockey League.
“We have a really good hockey player, a young player that just needs to build a little bit of confidence,” Capuano said.
Capuano said the move was also designed to shake up the Islanders offense.
“We have to do something with our lineup,” the coach said. “We have to try to generate some type of offense, some type of zone time that we’re not getting right now. You’ll see some changes in the game tomorrow.” 2. Steve Bernier:
Steve Bernier is expected to play in place of Strome after sitting out against Montreal on Thursday. The first-year Islander was a physical presence in the Islanders’ 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, throwing six hits against his former team. Bernier skated with Anders Lee and Frans Nielsen at Saturday’s practice. 3. John Tavares: John Tavares returned to the Islanders lineup Thursday after missing three games with the flu. Tavares looked strong in his first game back, putting a game-high five shots on goal, as well as generating individual scoring chances.
“I felt good. I had some really good looks and was able to create some good opportunities,” Tavares said. “I just have to bury them. I had some jump. Timing felt good, rhythm felt good. I just have to build on it and put the puck in the net more frequently.”
4. Rematch: The Islanders look to exact some revenge against the Bruins after dropping their first meeting 5-3 on Oct. 23. Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas put the Islanders up 2-1, but the Bruins scored four unanswered goals.