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Islanders seeking offense without Okposo vs. Ducks

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (12-14-5) at ISLANDERS (18-11-5)


NEW YORK – The New York Islanders will be without first-line right wing Kyle Okposo for the second straight game when they face the Anaheim Ducks at Barclays Center on Monday.

Okposo missed New York's 1-0 loss at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday with a lower-body injury and won't play against the Ducks, but coach Jack Capuano said he doesn't feel the injury is a long-term problem.

"I don't think so, but I don't know for sure," he said after the morning skate. "The injury that he has needs a little bit of rest. We'll see where it takes him after these 7-8 days off. It's been lingering on for quite some time, a couple, three weeks; maybe even longer.

"He'll see doctors after the [Christmas] break. I'm hoping that this rest will give him some time to get ready to play when he gets back, but there's no guarantee of that either."

The Islanders (18-11-5) have lost their past three games after an 8-0-2 streak, largely because they haven't been able to score. New York had two goals in the three losses, with forward Brock Nelson getting one each against the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche.

"I thought in Colorado we did some good things," captain John Tavares said. "Our last game was tight and more of a grind; we didn't get too many opportunities."

One reason for the offensive struggle has been a powerless power play. New York is 1-for-16 with the extra man in the past four games. Another is that Tavares, who was second in the NHL in scoring last season, has two points, both goals, in nine games this month.

Capuano said he's not worried about his captain's lack of production.

"He's had chances, there's no question," Capuano said. "To me, it comes down to when a player is not getting those chances, then I'd be a little bit worried … but he's getting those chances. Somehow, some way, it's going to come.

"The frustrating thing more than anything else for our team is the power play. We're not generating anything on our power plays."

This is the third of a four-game road trip for the Ducks (12-14-5), who are coming off a 2-1 win at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and play at the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Anaheim's 57 non-shootout goals are the fewest in the NHL.

However, the Ducks have won four of their past seven, allowing 12 goals in that span, and Capuano is taking nothing for granted.

"They've played well as of late," he said. "They're a good hockey team. They have a lot of firepower up front. They're a veteran group. We're playing a good team, and we've got to be ready to play tonight."

The Ducks did not have a morning skate.

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Jiri Sekac - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Mike SantorelliRickard Rakell - Andrew Cogliano

Carl Hagelin - Shawn Horcoff - Chris Stewart

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Korbinian Holzer - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Injured: Simon Despres (concussion)

Scratched: Clayton Stoner, Max Friberg

Suspended: Nate Thompson


Anders Lee - John TavaresJosh Bailey

Brock Nelson - Frans Nielsen - Ryan Strome

Nikolay Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Steve Bernier

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait - Thomas Hickey

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Jean-Francois Berube (lower body), Kyle Okposo (lower body)

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Marek Zidlicky

Status report: Friberg was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League on Sunday. He was scoreless in five games with the Ducks earlier in the season. … Halak will play for the second straight game and Strait will replace Zidlicky on the third defensive pairing.

Who's hot: Andersen made 21 saves to earn the win at New Jersey. It was his first start since Nov. 21 and his 60th victory in 100 NHL appearances; he's the third goaltender in the past 30 years to win at least 60 of his first 100 games. ... New York hasn't allowed a power-play goal in its past 12 games, killing off 28 consecutive penalties in that span. The Islanders and Ducks are tied for the League lead in fewest power-play goals allowed (13).

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