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Islanders begin California road trip against Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

ISLANDERS (7-5-3) at SHARKS (7-7-0)

TV: CSN-CA, MSG+

SAN JOSE -- New York Islanders backup goaltender Thomas Greiss, who played his first 44 NHL games for the San Jose Sharks, will start against his former team for the first time Tuesday at SAP Center.

The Sharks selected Greiss in the fourth round (94th) of the 2004 NHL Draft, and he made 31 starts over parts of four seasons, beginning in 2007-08.

"Its' always fun playing here," Greiss said. "It's s a good crowd, nice building. It's going to be a fun game, especially playing against a couple guys I spent a long time with. There might be a little heckling going on out there but it's all in good fun. [Joe] Thornton has a big mouth and likes to crack a couple jokes. He's like a little kid out there. It's always good times with him."

Jaroslav Halak started the past three games and four of the past five for the Islanders, going 1-3-1, but Islanders coach Jack Capuano opted for Greiss to open a three-game road trip, which includes games against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

"Both guys have been playing really well, and even [Jean-Francois Berube], when he was in there in Chicago," Capuano said. "We've got a long trip, a lot of travel. For us it wasn't a difficult decision. Jaro's played well for us, too. We got two guys that are playing well that have been consistent for us. It hasn't been our goaltending that's been an issue. It's special teams of late and obviously not scoring goals."

The Islanders defeated San Jose 6-3 on Oct. 17 at Barclays Center. They scored three or more goals in eight of their first nine games, going 6-2-1. Since then, they haven't scored more than two goals in a game and have gone 1-3-2.

"I think in general when we're playing well we're coming out of our own end and that allows us to get up through the neutral zone with our speed," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "A lot of people talk about that. But I think that allows us to get our forecheck and our ability to protect the puck and hold onto the puck down low and create opportunities in the offensive zone and make teams defend."

The Sharks, coming off a 1-0 loss Saturday at home to the Ducks, will have forward Melker Karlsson in the lineup for the first time this season. Karlsson scored 13 goals and had 24 points in 53 games as a rookie last season but sustained a lower-body injury during the offseason, missed most of training camp and opened the season with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League.

One day after playing his fourth AHL game on Sunday, Karlsson was called up to the Sharks. He's expected to skate on the third line with center Chris Tierney and forward Tommy Wingels.

"I think I bring a lot of energy," Karlsson said. "I'm just going to do what I did before, try to crash the net, try to get the pucks in. We'll see. We'll see how it goes. I'm ready to go, otherwise I wouldn't be here. I need to be 100 percent if I'm going to be up here."

Here are the projected lineups:

ISLANDERS

Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Anders Lee - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Nikolay Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Steve Bernier

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait - Marek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss

Jaroslav Halak

Injured: Eric Boulton (lower body), Thomas Hickey (lower body)

Scratched: Taylor Beck, Jean-Francois Berube

SHARKS

Joonas Donskoi - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Matt Nieto - Micheal Haley - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Logan Couture (broken leg), Ben Smith (head)

Scratched: Nikolay Goldobin, Mirco Mueller

Status report: The Sharks called up Goldobin and Mueller from the Barracuda, but they'll likely be healthy scratches. ... Bailey will return to the lineup after being scratched for the first time this season on Sunday against the Boston Bruins. Beck, who made his season-debut against Boston, will come out of the lineup. ... Capuano shuffled his top three lines. Nelson moved from the third to the top line, switching places with Kulemin. Bailey is on the second line, bumping Bernier to the third.

Who's hot: Pavelski leads the Sharks in points (13), goals (eight), game-winning goals (three) and power play goals (two). ... Okposo and Boychuk each have points in two straight games.

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