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Preview: Islanders vs. Panthers

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (18-8-4) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (14-12-4)

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

FIVE THINGS:

1. WE'RE GOING STREAKING:

The Islanders have points in 10 straight games, going 8-0-2 over that span. The Islanders have also won three straight – all against Metropolitan Division opponents – and five straight at home. Head coach Jack Capuano isn’t letting his team get too high despite its recent record as the Islanders go into tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers.

“It’s game-by-game,” Capuano said. “It’s a daily process of how we go about our business. We have to be better in certain areas of our game. Our guys realize that and we’re playing against a real good Florida team here.”

The Islanders’ special teams have been on fire during the team’s 10-game run. The power play is converting at 31.8%, while the penalty kill is humming along at 96.2%, both tops in the league over that span. The PK has been perfect over the Islanders’ past nine games, going 21-for-21 over that span. Marek Zidlicky wasn’t officially credited with a power-play goal in the first period on Sunday evening, but scored a de facto one, as Lee Stempniak had yet to rejoin play.

ISLANDERS PLAYS OF THE WEEK


2. RYAN STROME: 

After sitting out Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury, Ryan Strome practiced with the Islanders Monday. Strome said he felt good after practice and that the extra day of rest helped him heal after being hit into the boards from behind on Saturday night in Columbus. 

“I feel alright. You just want to go out and play,” Strome said. “Hopefully I get in the lineup [Tuesday] and be out there and play. I wanted to play in the third period [Saturday] but better to play it safe. You never know. It was a dangerous hit and you’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Strome has 10 points (3G, 7A) in 20 games this season. He scored five points (2G, 3A) over five games after being recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but has gone three games without a point. 

3. THOMAS HICKEY:

The Islanders are 10-1-1 with Thomas Hickey in the lineup. Hickey missed extended periods with two separate injuries, but rejoined the Islanders on Nov. 27, three games into their 10-game point streak. 

“Thomas Hickey is a valuable part,” Capuano said. “He’s one of those guys who plays extremely hard. He takes hits to make plays. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not, but we know what he brings to our team. We expect a lot of him and our other guys here.”

4. JAROMIR JAGR:

Jaromir Jagr continues to outskate Father Time, as the 43-year-old leads the Panthers with nine goals and 21 points. Jagr recently scored his 731st NHL goal, tying Marcel Dionne for fourth all time. Jagr’s importance to the Panthers goes beyond his on-ice contributions, as the wily vet – with a very outgoing personality and Twitter presence – is helping shape youngsters like 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad and 20-year-old Aleksander Barkov. Matt Martin said having veterans like Jagr is a benefit for a young team. 

“He’s the kind of player that’s pretty well gone through every scenario you can possibly go through in this league,” Martin said. “He’s gone through all the highs and lows and can help young guys that are going through a tough time. Whatever the situation may be, he’s obviously gone through it. He’s still an elite player in this league and you can tell he loves the game. It’s always great when you have a veteran guy like that who still cares and contributes at the level he does.”

5. BROOKLYN PRIDE NIGHT/PARENTS NIGHT:

The Islanders will wear their black-and-white, Brooklyn Pride alternate jerseys Tuesday. The Islanders are also paying tribute to parents, who can get four $15 food vouchers with the purchase of four tickets. Buy tickets here. 
  

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