PENGUINS (X-X-X) vs. ISLANDERS (X-X-X)
WHEN: December 22, 2012 - 7:00 pm | WHERE: Nassau Coliseum
The New York Islanders are still a few years away from moving to Brooklyn, but they’re hoping for some positive movement through the standings in the upcoming campaign. After the finishing 14th in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12, the Isles will be led by rising start John Tavares as they attempt to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Tavares had a career year last season, appearing in all 82 game for the Islanders, and putting up 81 points, (30G-51A), in the process. The first-overall pick in 2009 is only 22, and has seen his point total improve in each of his past three seasons.
Tavares will be without one of his top offensive threats on Long Island this year, after P.A. Parenteau signed a four-year deal in Colorado. Parenteau recorded 67 points in 80 games last season for the Islanders, and will leave a hole in the top six. In an effort to replace the offense left by Parenteau’s departure, general manager Garth Snow signed winger Brad Boyes to a one-year deal. After scoring 43 goals in 2007-08, Boyes registered just eight goals and 23 points last season in Buffalo.
Also gone are tough-guy forwards Michael Haley and Trevor Gillies, along with netminder Al Montoya. New York lost some key pieces on the blue line, as Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Dylan Reese were not retained, and Steve Staios announcing his retirement. To help out on defense, Snow brought in veteran D-man Lubomir Visnovsky via trade. The Islanders also signed tough winger Eric Boulton to a one-year deal.
Winger Matt Moulson continued to see success in the goal-scoring department, as the 29-year-old potted 36 last season. It was Moulson’s third straight campaign with 30 or more tallies, and the North York, Ontario native has yet to miss a contest over that span. Wingers Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner both hit the 20-goal plateau last season in New York.
Islanders captain Mark Streit enters into his fourth year with the club. He registered seven goals and 47 points in 2011-12. Visnovsky, along with Andrew MacDonald and Matt Carkner will also patrol the backend on Long Island this season.
Evgeni Nabokov should see the majority of time in net for the Isles this season, as Rick DiPietro dressed in just eight games over the past year, dealing with injuries once again. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson are two young prospects that could both see time in the crease for New York in 2012-13.
ISLANDERS: JOHN TAVARES
The budding star has only gotten better during his time in the league, and averaged almost a point per game last season. Tavares had trouble against Pittsburgh however, as he was held off the scoresheet in all six contests against the Penguins. His 81 points in 2011-12 were good for seventh overall in the NHL. PENGUINS: XXX
Ben Lovejoy , knee (5)
F Mats Zuccarello, broken wrist (6)
D Steve Eminger, lower body (10)
D Michael Sauer, concussion (56)
Author: Michelle Crechiolo