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Preview: Islanders vs. Predators

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (1-1-1) VS. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (3-0-0)

7:00 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS

FIVE THINGS:

1. Halak Practices, Greiss Likely to Start: Jaroslav Halak practiced with the Islanders Wednesday, but is still considered day-to-day by head coach Jack Capuano. Barring a Halak return, Thomas Greiss is slated to get the start for the Islanders. Greiss made 22 saves Monday, earning his first win in orange and blue. Greiss has looked solid in both of his starts, alleviating any concerns from the Islanders coaches while allowing Halak gets himself healthy.
 

2.  Special Teams: The Islanders power play scored its first two goals of the season Monday, converting two-of-six opportunities vs. the Winnipeg Jets. The Islanders PP is two-for-10 on the season. However, the Islanders have allowed a power-play goal in each of their first three games this season going 10-for-13 on the penalty kill.

3. Lee, Nelson, Strome: Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Ryan Strome – formerly known as the “Kid Line” broke out in Monday’s contest. Lee (1A) and Strome (1G) each scored their first points of the season, while Nelson potted his first goal. The three were an integral part of the Islanders success last season and are being counted on to reach, if not surpass last season’s totals. Lee and Strome are currently flanking John Tavares on the top line, but Capuano said that means continuing to grow and finding a new level this season.

“If you’re going to be playing on Johnny’s line, you’re going to be playing against the best," Capuano said. "You’re going to see the top 1-2 defensemen. You can’t take a night off in this league. When you get an opportunity to play with that line, you’re going to see the best and you have to be at your best.” 

4. Rinne: Nashville will likely counter with franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne had a bounce-back season in 2014-15, winning 41 games en route to a second-place finish in the Vezina Trophy voting for the league’s top netminder. Rinne is back to form early this season, with a 3-0-0 record a 0.67 goals against average and a .975 save percentage.

5. Vs. The Preds: The Islanders won both meetings with the Predators last season, including a 5-2 win at home and a 4-3 win in Nashville. The Islanders have won three straight meetings with the Predators. Capuano isn’t resting on the laurels of last season. As he pointed out Wednesday, the Islanders have traded season sweeps with teams over the years and that it’s a new season series when the puck drops at 7 p.m. 

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