Michal Neuvirth

With ?back-to-back games scheduled for this weekend, the Islanders will start Michal Neuvirth in Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Head coach Jack Capuano made the announcement after Friday's practice at Islanders IceWorks in Syosset. The move was a change from Capuano's usual routine of waiting until game day to announce the starting goaltender. The decision to start Neuvirth Saturday likely means Jaroslav Halak gets the nod on Sunday.

The Islanders haven't been scoring, but goaltending has been strong the last three games.

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The Islanders will be without Jaroslav Halak in Chicago, so Michal Neuvirth will start between the pipes against the Blackhawks.

Tonight will be Neuvirth's fourth start as an Islander and the second time he is starting in consecutive games since he was acquired by New York at the trade deadline. In Saturday's loss to the Montreal Canadians, Neuvirth made 27 saves on 29 shots and finished the game with a .931 save percentage.

Aside from a bad decision with the puck in the second period, it was a good performance out the newly acquired goaltender. It was the sharpest he has looked since coming the Isles.

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Tyler Kennedy will finally make his Islanders' debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kennedy was slated to play in Tuesday's overtime loss in Dallas, but at the last minute alerted the Islanders' coaching staff of an unspecified upper-body injury. Kennedy has been dealing with injures this season and has dealt with a shoulder ailment. There has been no official word on what the specifics of the injury were that forced him to return to Long Island early last week for evaluation.

"I don't know if was the travel, the stress of that, just a couple different things," Kennedy told Newsday on Saturday. "Just an unfortunate thing, all I can really say about it."

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Michal Neuvirth was not at his best on Saturday night in the Islanders 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers.

The newest member of the Islanders made 15 saves on 18 shots in his debut start and finished the game with a .833 save percentage. It wasn't the ideal first impression, but the Islanders still left Florida with a point and Neuvirth got his first taste of what the team's system is like.

There is surely an adjustment for any player who joins a new team and Neuvirth has been accustomed to facing a much higher volume of shots during his time in Buffalo. As Newsday's Arthur Staple noted, Neuvirth is used to facing 35-plus shots a game with the Sabres.

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