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Game Day Blog: Preds at NY Islanders

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators at New York Islanders

6 pm CT
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee
Radio: 97.1 FM WRQQ, Predators Radio Network

The Nashville Predators kick off a four-game road swing on Long Island tonight when they face the Islanders at 6 pm CST. After a disappointing home stand, the club looks to generate as many points as possible heading into the Olympic break, which for the Preds kicks off after the team’s game on Sunday against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

The Islanders are an opponent ripe for the picking, having lost seven in a row and giving up the first goal in nine straight. To try and change the momentum of the team, head coach Scott Gordon is going to start Martin Biron in net for the first time since December 27th. Since then either Dwayne Roloson or Rick DiPietro has tended goal for the Isles, who are on pace for one of the worst finishes in team history. Yes, I know Terry Crisp was an original Islander in 1972-73, but he didn’t make it through the whole year here. He was traded to Philly and the rest is history.

It’s worth watching John Tavares, one of the NHL’s Rookie of the Year candidates, who is second among freshmen in goals with 17 and points with 33. He also ranks first in rookie power play goals with eight. That said he has only scored twice in the last 27 games.

Nashville has recalled forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Nolan Yonkman from the Milwaukee Admirals to fill holes created by various bumps and bruises, the latest of which has landed defenseman Cody Fransen on the IR.

Notes:
- Nashville plays the next four games on the road to round out its pre-Olympic schedule. After tonight’s game, the Preds face the Rangers, Devils, and Penguins on this trip.
- Our very own Terry Crisp, mentioned above, has been an original St. Louis Blue, Islander, and Tampa Bay Lightning member.
- Mike Bossy, former Islanders scoring machine, registered nine consecutive 50-goal seasons.
- Rick DiPietro is 2-5 in his comeback effort after falling 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
- Nolan Yonkman has not appeared in an NHL game since the 2006-07 season with Washington, but may dress tonight against the Islanders.

Callahan’s Keys
- Nashville needs to get on the Islanders quickly. They are a struggling team, and the sooner the air is gone from the sails, the better.
- Attack Biron with traffic and shots. Since he hasn’t seen game action in the NHL since December 27, some rust is expected despite a recent conditioning start in the AHL with Bridgeport. Getting to him early and often will be important.
- Contain Tavares and Okposo. They’re both extremely talented, and the fact that they’ve gone cold only sets the stage for an eventual breakout. Beware!
- Don’t take these guys lightly! Every team in the NHL has talent, and has guys capable of winning a game when conditions are right. Do not look past the Islanders.
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