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Wild, Isles set for holiday matinee

by Brian Compton
WILD (1-0-0) at ISLANDERS (0-1-0)


Season Series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams. New York will visit Minnesota on Dec. 17.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota got off to a tremendous start Saturday night, as newcomers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi both lit the lamp in the Wild's 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Xcel Energy Center. Heatley and Setoguchi, who arrived this offseason via separate trades with San Jose, are expected to give Mike Yeo's club some offensive punch. They did just that against the Blue Jackets, as Heatley also added an assist.

"Everyone's talking about our system. We've done a good of trying to play that way, quickly," Heatley said. "I think it makes our team looks faster. The 'D' are moving the puck well. Guys are in position."

Islanders: Saturday was a complete and utter disappointment for New York, which was flat from basically start to finish in a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. All this despite a capacity crowd at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum that was downright electric during pre-game warmups.

"It's a little disappointing to me that whatever the reason, we didn't get out of the gate and then to compound that with the penalties that we took to give them opportunities right off the bat that put us behind," coach Jack Capuano said.

Who's Hot: Heatley was the only player on Minnesota's roster to enjoy a 2-point night Saturday, as Pierre-Marc Bouchard chipped in with a pair of assists. Niklas Backstrom was sharp between the pipes in a 31-save performance.

Injury Report: Mike Lundin (back), Matt Kassian (finger) and Cody Almond (back) are all expected to miss Monday's matinee. The Wild will also be without Bouchard, who was suspended for two games for high sticking Matt Calvert on Saturday. … The Isles will be without forwards Nino Niederreiter (lower body) and Trevor Gillies (groin). Defenseman Milan Jurcina left practice early Sunday due to a nagging groin injury and likely won't play.

Stat Pack: Heatley's goal on Saturday was the game-winner and came via the power play. He has 59 game-winners and 129 power-play goals in his 11-year career, which are the most in the League over that span. … Saturday marked the fourth time in franchise history that the Islanders were shut out in their home opener. It hadn't happened since 2000, when they were blanked by the Calgary Flames.

Puck Drop: "We wanted to start with a win. We had a great crowd, a good atmosphere and a good feeling, but we lost the game. We know we can play better and we have to turn the page here and play Monday and get our first win." -- Islanders captain Mark Streit
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