Some notes from today's practice at the Bank Atlantic Center
DUNHAM'S SUNSHINE STATE SUCCESS
With Rick DiPietro still sidelined with soreness, Mike Dunham will start for the second game in a row. This will be Dunham's second start against the Panthers. In his first start on November 18th, Dunham stopped 43 of 44 shots in a 4-1 win.
"Dunham has had success in Florida," said Ted Nolan. "Ricky joked that maybe he likes the warm weather. But we have to give him a little bit more support tonight. Hopefully, we get better results."
HILL QUESTIONABLE FOR TONIGHT
Sean Hill was feeling better today, but he's still a game time decision. Bruno Gervais will miss tonight, but is getting close to returning, saying that his ankle feels good.
TEDDY'S TAKE ON THE DAY OFF
The team was originally scheduled to have practice yesterday, but after a late arriving flight to Florida, Ted Nolan decided to give the players a rest following a brief meeting in the morning.
"There are different ways to handle a team when they've had a loss," said Nolan." You can show them video or work them hard, but once in a while you need a mental break. We had a short meeting to talk about the situation we're in. We're in the final 12-game stretch. We went through the whole training camp together. There have been ups and downs, but now we're in the most critical and exciting part of the season. We should play that way. Sometimes it's good to get away from the rink and come back with a full force of energy to the rink."
Unlike most game-day skates that are optional, today's was mandatory after the team had the day off yesterday.
GOING FOR THE SWEEP
Islanders radio color analyst Chris King had a great nugget of information at the skate this morning that impressed everyone within earshot. After skating away with three wins against the Panthers so far this season, the Islanders are one win away from sweeping Florida in a season series for the first time. Florida has been in the league since 1993.
Nolan indicated that he would go with the same lines from the Montreal game, which saw Ryan Smyth with Jason Blake and Alexei Yashin. Randy Robitaille will be back with Viktor Kozlov and Miroslav Satan. Andy Hilbert was taken off the line with Trent Hunter and Mike Sillinger for part of the Ottawa game, but look for him to get back on that line.