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Game Day: Preds vs. Islanders

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(3-0-0) Nashville Predators vs. New York Islanders (1-1-1)
  6 P.M. (CT) | Barclays Center | #NSHvsNYI
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game


The Nashville Predators are set to skate in the borough of Brooklyn for the first time in franchise history tonight. The Preds face the New York Islanders at their new home, the Barclays Center, after the team moved from Long Island to being the 2015-16 season.

Nashville defeated the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night by a 3-1 score in the first outing of a three-game road trip, keeping their record at an undefeated 3-0-0 mark. It's just the third time in franchise history the Preds have started a season with that record and first since 2010-11.

The Islanders are off to a 1-1-1 start on the young season after coming away with their first victory, a 4-2 triumph over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

Nashville defenseman Roman Josi scored his first and second goals of the season on Tuesday against the Devils, the first of which came on the power play. The second tally was of the rare empty-net, shorthanded, game-winning variety, the first time in Predators franchise history that a player scored that trifecta in one goal, and the first time in the NHL since Brian Boyle (Tampa Bay) scored against Dallas on March 7, 2015.

Josi is tied for the team lead in goals (2), along with Craig Smith. Josi, Smith, Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones are all tied for the Predators lead in points with two apiece.

Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne set a club record during Tuesday's game in New Jersey, becoming the franchise's all-time leader in games played by a goaltender with 384 to his name. In three games this season, Rinne has three victories to go along with a 0.67 goals-against average and a .975 save percentage. The Finnish netminder has stopped 78-of-80 shots he's faced this season.

Islanders Captain John Tavares has two goals and four points in the early going to lead his team offensively. Forwards Kyle Okposo and Brock Nelson, as well as defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Johnny Boychuk all have two points to their credit. Goaltender Thomas Greiss is 1-0-1 on the season and has filled in for the injured Jaroslav Halak, who is nursing an upper-body injury.

The Predators are looking for their first road win against the Islanders since Jan. 6, 2012 when they defeated them by a 3-1 score. Nashville dropped both games to the Islanders last season, extending their losing streak against them to three games. The Predators have an 11-6-2 record all-time against the Isles.

A New Home for Nystrom:

A trip to play the Islanders is always a homecoming of sorts for Preds forward Eric Nystrom, whose father Bob played for the Isles when the team captured four Stanley Cups in the 1980s. The move from Long Island to Brooklyn is one that Eric admits will take some getting used to, but he’ll always be proud to see his father’s retired number hanging from the rafters of the Islanders home rink.

“It’s a new arena, still the Islanders, but it’s definitely a lot different,” Nystrom said after Thursday's morning skate. “That was weird to see [the Bob Nystrom banner] up there, but I’m glad they brought those banners over here and carried that tradition on, but it definitely is weird to see it up there.”

Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette also got his NHL coaching start with the Islanders back in 2001 and took a moment to reflect on his time on Long Island.

“Our time on the Island, it was my wife and I, our first job in the NHL, so there are lots of good memories there, not only from the building, but just the organization and where we lived on Long Island,” Laviolette said. “We really enjoyed our time there, so it is a little bit different now that [the Islanders don’t play] there, but certainly a nice facility here.”

What to Watch For:


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

Note: The Preds held an optional morning skate on Thursday with Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne and approximately a dozen other Nashville players taking part. The lineup below is courtesy of yesterday's Preds Practice Ponderings.

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Fisher james neal
Colin Wilson Mike ribeiro Craig Smith
Gabriel Bourque Cody Hodgson calle jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad A. watson/v. arvidsson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the projected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto


New York Islanders:

Forwards
Anders Lee John Tavares Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey Frans Nielsen Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin Mikhail Grabovski Brock Nelson
Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Cal Clutterbuck
Defense
Nick Leddy Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan Travis Hamonic
Brian Strait Marek zidlicky

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Goaltenders: Thomas Greiss is expected to start in net tonight for the Islanders with Jean-Francois Berube serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Thomas Hickey, (F) Steve Bernier, (F) Eric Boulton

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