6:30 pm - Yann Danis is out sick, so Martin Brodeur gets the start. As I just tweeted, Yann will probably get his next chance to start in March.
11:05 am, NVMC: Rick DiPietro starts tonight against the Devils, 3-1 losers last night at home to the Canadiens. DiPietro shut out New Jersey on Monday after beating Buffalo in a shootout less than 48 hours earlier. Isn't it nice that the news of DiPietro getting a start is not really news?
Although a few tickets were available this morning, tonight's crowd will be a sellout - the latest indication that the fan base is recognizing what the Islanders have built this season. Key for the home team will be establishing their style of play and not letting the Devils drain the flow out of the game and the passion out of the stands.
The Devils are struggling badly of late. They have lost four of five and they do not have a power play goal in their last eight games. Niclas Bergfors, at one point pushing Tyler Myers, Matt Duchene, John Tavares, the kid goalies and all the rest as a Calder candidate, does not have a goal in his last eleven. With Rod Pelley out, former Islanders farmhand Ben Walter is up with the Devils.
Scott Gordon said this morning the Devils "are going to want to be able to respond" after the Islanders shut them out on Monday afternoon. "We caught them after their road trip and they weren't as sharp. I'm sure they'll be better tonight."
Coinciding with the Islanders' recent roll is the improved play of Bruno Gervais, who had a subpar first half after playing so well for long stretches last season with Mark Streit.
"The confidence is back," Gervais said this morning. "The message from the coaches was that I was trying to do too much. You can't make chicken salad out of ... "
Asked for the reasons for the defenseman's improved play, Gordon said that Gervais and Freddy Meyer complement each other well. Gervais, who partnered with Dustin Kohn last game, agreed. "Now that we've both been here a while, Freddy and I know how to help each other on the ice," he said. "We have good instincts about when he should join the play and I should join the play. We back each other up."
Nathan Horton is out 4-6 weeks with a broken tibia after absorbing that slap shot dump-in from teammate Dennis Seidenberg in the third period on Thursday at the Coliseum. After the game, coach Peter DeBoer's preliminary report from Panthers trainer led him to believe, "It's nothing to be worried about." Now Florida, an Islanders rival for a playoff berth, loses a key component on their top line for a month.
Comments on tonight's game and this post.