Isles Set To Host Bruins Tonight On The Island

Tonight, the New York Islanders play host to the visiting Boston Bruins at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Tonight’s tilt is a battle of shootout winners in their last games. (photo credit: flikr/bridgetds)


Last night, the Islanders showed a lot of perseverance in Ottawa, coming back from two different two goal deficits to snag the victory in overtime.


In the game, the Isles kept to coach Jack Capuano’s plan to put pucks on the net, and it eventually paid off when Frans Nielsen sealed the victory in the skills competition.


For Boston, the Bruins got past the Anaheim Ducks by tying the game late and garnering the only tally in the shootout. Future Hall of Famer Jerome Iginla scored the shootout goal giving Boston its first victory in a week.


The visiting Bruins will possibly be without Johnny Boychuk who is “day to day” after getting hurt in Halloween’s OT win against the Ducks. Normally, Boychuk is former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara’s defense partner, so if Boychuk cannot go, it will be interesting to see how Coach Claude Julien shuffles his defense. Also, even though he has been cleared to practice, the Bruins will be without winger Loui Eriksson.


According to the official Twitter feed of the Bruins, goalie Chad Johnson is first off the ice in the morning skate, a clear indication he is starting tonight on Long Island. Despite only starting once this season, Johnson’s start is no surprise since number one goaltender Tuukka Rask had started the previous two games which were on consecutive nights.


The Islanders got back in town late last night, so the morning skate was skipped today. Even still, expect backup goalie Kevin Poulin to get the nod tonight since normal starter Evgeni Nabokov playing 65 minutes last night plus the shootout.


This game will come down to defense. With the Bruins possibly shorthanded on the defense, and the Isles definitely shorthanded, it will matter which team can step up in its own end. For New York, that has been a serious problem this season, especially since defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky’s concussion against the Carolina Hurricanes two weeks ago. Also, the Isles have been without Brian Strait who is also dinged up. He got hurt a little over a week ago and is still out of the lineup.


Can the Isles contain the Bruins? Boston is middle of the pack in the NHL for goal scoring, but the Islanders, at least so far, are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Tonight will definitely be a challenge for the boys in blue.


The challenge will not only be in their own zone but also in Boston’s end of the rink as Boston is boasting a team goals against average of 1.83 so far this season. It will be important for the Islanders to press the Bruins backup netminder and continue last night’s puck barrage. Also, New York hopes that Thomas Vanek’s budding chemistry with captain John Tavares continues. The duo looks better and better on the ice together shift after shift. (photo credit: flikr/dougtone)


The Isles will need that chemistry, plus a continuance of Nielsen’s great play if they hope to get past the 8-4-0 Bruins.


-Donovan Brooks


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