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Islanders make rare visit to play Predators

by John Kreiser /

ISLANDERS (2-1-1) at PREDATORS (1-3-0)


Season series: The New York Islanders and Nashville Predators met twice in the preseason but haven't seen each other in a game that counted since Nashville's 3-1 victory at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 16, 2012. The Predators will visit Long Island one month from Saturday. Nashville has won the past five games between the teams at Bridgestone Arena and 10 of 15 meetings overall.

Big story: The Islanders come to Music City for the first time in nearly three years after a 3-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. The Predators are searching for answers after a 4-0 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, their third defeat in four games this season.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York worked hard against the defending Stanley Cup champs, but the Islanders spent most of the night chasing the puck rather than initiating the play. They were outshot 28-19, but the Blackhawks attempted 70 shots to 40 for the Islanders. The New York goals came in the final minute of the opening period, when Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo scored to send the game into the first intermission even at 2-2.

"We have to go out there and play our game and earn it and we really didn't give the full 60 minutes we needed," captain John Tavares said.

Evgeni Nabokov is expected to be back in goal against the Predators after Kevin Poulin made 25 saves in his first start of the season.

Predators: Putting the puck into the net continues to be a challenge for the Predators, who've gone more than five periods without a goal since scoring three times in the first period of their home opener Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Nashville has scored three times in the other 11 periods.

"Offensively we're not scoring goals, and I think that goes for everyone. You look around the room, and the numbers aren't great," captain Shea Weber told The Tennessean. "A few years back when we were scoring goals, we were all scoring. The offense was going, and when things are going, it's easy.

"We just need to find a way to get things rolling and get everyone involved offensively, and that's going to help us win games."

Who's hot: Tavares has five points in New York's past three games. … No Predators player has more than one goal, and center Mike Fisher is tops with three points.

Injury report: Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck (lacerated leg) returned to the lineup Friday. The rest of the team is healthy, though Tavares had some teeth knocked out during the game in Chicago. … The Predators are without top-four defenseman Roman Josi (concussion) and forward Victor Stalberg (shoulder).

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