Game Preview: Isles Look to Play A Full 60 Against The Wings
After a stellar win against their cross town rivals Friday night, and solid effort in the opening 2 periods, the Islanders turned into, well, the Islanders. They blew a 3-1 advantage in the final period and went on to give up an unmatched 4 total goals in the stanza to fall 5-3 to the powerful Ducks of Anaheim.
The Isles schedule does not have any let up in sight as they try to start something positive before the brief Christmas break against the always solid Detroit Red Wings.
The puck is set to drop promptly at 730pmEST at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. It can be seen on MSG+ and heard on WRHU88.7FM/WRCN103.9FM.
The Islanders (10-20-7) come limping into this contest, desperate for a win, after failing to record a victory in 14 of their last 16 games. The Wings have not been too successful themselves of late as they have been completely ravaged by injuries. Detroit (17-12-9) is just 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and their normally strong home ice advantage is anything but with a record of 6-9-6.
Detroit’s injuries start in net with all-star Jimmy Howard on the shelf until the New Year, and they continue throughout the lineup with all world players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk is starting again, but he was laid up for a while earlier in the season and just hasn’t seem to get on the normal roll he always seems to get on by this time of the season. The Red Wings are staying afloat and relevant due to the great play of their young stars, and outstanding goaltending by Jonas Gustavsson.
New York on the other hand has not responded to injuries well, but they have been getting healthier of late. Evgeni Nabokov is back and playing well. Brain Strait has returned and added some depth to the depleted defensive unit.
Even though these are 2 big additions the Islanders still do not know how to do the one thing that it takes to win games, and that is to play the full 60 minutes and hold onto leads. The Islanders have been dismal this season when leading in the 3rd period and their confidence with a lead has been nonexistent.
John Tavares must show why he is the captain of this team and lead them to a couple of victories to, at the very least, boost morale. Jack Capuano is all but out the door despite the love affair Garth Snow and Charles Wang hold for him, so the players must unite and stick together.
Islanders 3 Keys to the Game:
- Start quick. It is crucial to force the Wings into mistakes early.
- Win face-offs.
- Stay out of the box and do not take dumb penalties.
Projected Lineup (According to Dailyfaceoff.com):
26 Vanek-91 Tavares(C)-21 Okposo(A)
12 Bailey-51 Nielsen-40 Grabner
29 Nelson-18 Strome-15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin-53 Cizikas-13 McDonald
47 MacDonald(A)-14 Hickey
44 de Haan-3 Hamonic
55 Ness-37 Strait
IR: 11 Visnovsky, 4 Martinek