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Islanders' Tavares skates, won't play against Devils

by John Kreiser /

DEVILS (6-4-1) at ISLANDERS (6-3-3)

TV: MSG+ 2, MSG+

NEW YORK – The New York Islanders will be without center John Tavares for the third consecutive game when they face the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center on Tuesday.

Tavares took part in New York's optional morning skate, but coach Jack Capuano said he will not play. He missed the Islanders' 3-2 shootout loss at New Jersey on Saturday and their 2-1 home loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday with what Capuano said were flu-like symptoms.

"He got hit hard and couldn't recover for a few days," Capuano said. "He started to turn the corner in the last couple of days. We wanted to get him out of bed and get a little exercise, and we'll see how he is moving forward.

"He's been laid up there for a little while. We had people check on him. We had some more opinions, more check-ups, just tests, and everything was negative, which is good."

Capuano said it was too early to determine if Tavares would be able to play when the Islanders visit the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Islanders, who will debut their black, Brooklyn-themed third jerseys, are 0-1-2 in their past three games. They have scored three goals in the two games without Tavares, their top scorer with 11 points in 10 games.

"I thought we actually played decently," Capuano said of the Islanders' performance without their captain. "We just have to score some goals. In the last six periods of hockey, we got a shorthanded goal, a power-play goal and a goal from a defenseman.

"We've given up 37 shots [on goal] in the last two games ... [we need] just a little bit more compete in our game. Structurally I thought we were fine, but we have a few guys who need to pick up their game and compete at a higher level."

The Devils, who haven't played since Saturday, will use the same lineup that faced the Islanders, meaning that forward Jiri Tlusty will sit again with a shoulder injury.

"He's not ready," coach John Hynes said of Tlusty, who has 10 goals and 17 points in 21 career games against the Islanders.

New Jersey has won six of its past seven games, including the shootout win against the Islanders, after an 0-3-1 start. Hynes said the hot streak has given his team's confidence a major boost.

"Any time you can find ways to win, confidence comes through that," he said. "I'd say that in the first 10 games, whether we won or lost, we still really believed in how we were playing, how we were practicing and the direction the team was going. But the wins certainly have belief in actually winning a game, as opposed to playing well and coming close. That's been really important for us."

The Devils won the tiebreaker Saturday after allowing a 2-0 first-period lead to slip away, and Hynes said he wants to see a more complete effort.

"As the game went on the other day, some of our strength on the puck and our puck battles weren't as strong as they were in the first period," Hynes said. "We weren't able to generate as much as we were earlier in the game. Strong puck battles throughout the game will be important tonight."

Here are the projected lineups:


Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Brian O'Neill - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - Damon Severson

Jon Merrill - David Schlemko

Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Stefan Matteau

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (foot), Patrik Elias (knee), Jiri Tlusty (shoulder)


Anders Lee - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Nikolay Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Steve Bernier

Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait - Marek Zidlicky

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Taylor Beck

Injured: John Tavares (illness), Eric Boulton (lower body), Thomas Hickey (lower body)

Status report: Tlusty, who sat out Saturday, participated in the morning skate Tuesday but did not take part in line rushes. He said he hopes to be ready for the Devils' home game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. … Halak, who played against New Jersey, will start after Thomas Greiss played Sunday against Buffalo. At practice Monday, the Islanders switched Lee onto a line with Nielsen and Okposo, moving Bailey to the left side with Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome.

Who's hot: Schneider has played all seven games during New Jersey's 6-1-0 run, allowing 16 goals. … Nielsen has four goals and six points in New York's past five games. He scored a shorthanded goal against the Devils on Saturday.

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