New York Islanders (9-19-7) @ New York Rangers (16-17-2)
Friday, December 20, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Madison Square Garden | New York, New York
NEW YORK — The Islanders are back in action tonight taking on the Rival Rangers at MSG. This is the second of five meetings between the New York Rivals and it is the first of three meetings at the Garden.
The last time the Islanders and Rangers played, the Blue Shirts came back from a 2-1 Islander lead to win 3-2 in regulation.
Both teams are desperate for points coming into tonight’s game. The Islanders are 1-2-2 in their last five games and the Rangers have gone 1-3-1 in that same span. The Rangers are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Penguins on Wednesday, while the Islanders are also looking to rebound from a shootout loss of their own that occurred on Tuesday.
Evgeni Nabokov will be back in net for the Islanders.This will be Nabokov’s third start since returning from a groin injury last week. The Rangers will send Henrik Lundqvist to guard the net.
The Islanders are inserting Matt Carkner back into the lineup. He has been a scratch for the Isles for the last three games.
“For me it was just the chance to watch a couple of games and refocus,” Carkner said following the Isles morning skate. “For me my game is not gunna change. I’m just gunna try to do my job. Be a physical presence , move the puck and let the forwards do their jobs.”
In addition Casey Cizikas will return to the Islanders lineup.
“You never wanna miss a game against these guys,” Cizikas said about playing the Rangers. “These games are fun and every time we play them something exciting happens. From my very first game in the NHL against these guys till now, nothing has changed.”
Montreal Canadiens (19-11-3) @ New York Islanders (9-19-5)
Saturday, December 14, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | Uniondale, New York
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Hello from Nassau Coliseum on a snow December day. The Islanders will take on the Montreal Canadiens for the second time this season. The first matchup did not go the way the Islanders had hoped; they lost 4-2 in Montreal back on November 10.
The Canadiens enter tonight’s game coming off a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and are 3-2-0 in their last five games. The Isles are fresh off a 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and have lost four of their last five games.
New York will try and curb that tonight. They will put Evgeni Nabokov out to face the Montreal Candiens. He is making his first start since injuring himself back on November 16 against the Detroit Red Wings. Nabokov is 5-5-3 in 14 starts this year for the Islanders. He was not in net when the Isles fell to Montreal earlier in the season.
The Islanders will also have top prospect Ryan Strome at their disposal tonight. The 20-year-old will make his NHL debut, though it is unclear who will be on a line with him. During the morning skate he did practice on a line with Cal Clutterbuck and Brock Nelson.
Thomas Vanek – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner – Frans Nielsen – Josh Bailey
Cal Clutterbuck – Ryan Strome – Brock Nelson
Matt Martin – Peter Regin – Eric Boulton
The Islanders ended their 10 game losing streak last night and today they officially called up highly touted prospect Ryan Strome.
The 20-year-old is expected to make his NHL debut tomorrow when the Islanders take on the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona. There had been some talk that Strome would join the team in time for yesterday’s game against the San Jose Sharks, but since Pierre-Marc Bouchard did not clear waivers until noon yesterday there was not enough time to fly him across the country to play.
Strome has been lighting up the AHL this season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He leads the AHL in scoring with 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 23 games this season. Strome was name the AHL rookie of the Month for November, as well as player of the week in consecutive weeks.
The addition of the former first round draft pick will definitely help the Isles struggling secondary scoring. In the last five games, aside from the goal by Andrew MacDonald in St. Louis, the Islanders have only found scoring from the team’s top line. Strome has clearly had success in finding the back of the net and will potentially find the same success in the NHL.
In case you were not aware of just how well Strome has played in the AHL, below are some subtle reminders: