at (32-22-6) (22-30-8)Nassau Coliseum -- Uniondale, NYTV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM
[sny-box]The Least You Should Know About the Maple Leafs... Toronto's James Van Riemsdyk has a bruised hand but took part in the morning skate and is expected to play tonight. The same goes for Peter Holland who has a lower body injury... Jon Bernier will start in net tonight and has a .927 save percentage...[/sny-box]
Tonight at the Coliseum the Islanders will begin playing out the stretch, without John Tavares and Frans Nielsen, and double digits out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 21 games to go. Matt Martin is still banged up as well and will sit out tonight's game.
Evgeni Nabokov will lead the Islanders onto the ice tonight as the starting goaltender, including three new faces: Anders Lee, Ryan Strome and Mike Halmo. The trio had been the top line at Bridgeport in the AHL and were lighting things up over the Olympic break. The Sound Tigers had been on a roll winning 11-of-13 and this move will obviously hurt them, but despite their recent hot streak, still find themselves on the outside of the playoff race by 10 points with 22 games left.
For Strome, it will be his second call up of the year having spent 15 games on Long Island earlier in the year. Since being sent down to Bridgeport in January Strome picked up right where he left off in the AHL with four goals and 12 helpers in 14 games.
This is Anders Lee's first call up of the year and will be only his third NHL game. He played two games for the Islanders last year, including scoring in his first game. In Bridgeport he's been on Strome's left wing and has nine points during the team's 13 game run.
And finally, you might not be familiar with the third Sound Tiger, Mike Halmo. Halmo was signed as an undrafted free agent just about two years ago in March 2012. At 22-years old he's a year younger than Lee and, surprisingly, has matched his production in Bridgeport. Halmo is a more physical player, expected to be a banger and racked up 100+ penalty minutes each year in the OHL. He's doing the same in Bridgeport this year with 116 PIM in 53 games but he's also got an offensive upside, with 17 goals and 37 points. For comparison, Lee has 41 points in 54 games this year.Here's my best guess at the lineup:[sny-box]
|Scratches: Martinek, Carkner IR: Tavares, Nielsen|