Old pal FMIV will be behind the bench in Manchester. - Jim McIsaac
The New York Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport has a division leader and a division rival on tap for the weekend.
Nilsson was pulled from his previously planned start just an hour before game time, due to a still-unspecified ailment that kept him out of games and kept Kenny Reiter recalled from the ECHL.
Reiter has since been returned, Nilsson is feeling better, and he'll finally get a chance to resume a pretty enticing goalie prospect battle with Kevin Poulin. If you remember, Nilsson's season was shortened last spring by a high ankle sprain.
The other lineup note is that David Ullstrom is not expected to play at all this weekend. That doesn't mean his injury is serious, just that they're being careful before being a little more aggressive, according to coach Scott Pellerin, next week.
Friday: at Manchester, 7 p.m.
Though Manchester has been one of the AHL's stronger teams and is again strong (6-2-0-1) this season, the Sound Tigers had success against them in 2011-12, going 3-1-1-1. They did lose in preseason, 2-0, last month against Pellerin's old club.
Audio: Check Manchester's feed here.
Sunday: vs. Connecticut, 3 p.m.
After visiting the Monarchs tonight, the Sound Tigers return home to host the Connecticut Whale Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. After being swept by their rival in last year's playoffs, the Sound Tigers won the first meeting this year, 6-4, thanks to a five-goal second-period explosion.
This meeting will be Connecticut's third road game in three nights, a brutal AHL weekend but ample chance to shake off their humiliating 10-2 loss to Springfield last Sunday.
What to Watch
- Nilsson's season debut, obviously
- The continued play of Nino Niederreiter and Brock Nelson, among others. They lead the team in scoring and have been on the scoresheet most games so far.
- How physical will they be? Colin McDonald, among others, said they need to come out that way and they certainly did so Wednesday morning.
- Blueline Crowd? NHL-experienced Nathan McIver has been on the shelf but looks ready to return. Ty Wishart, sick last game anyway, was due for a healthy scratch before illness made it moot. Jordan Hill, an ex-Monarch under Pellerin signed to a PTO after Calvin de Haan got hurt, has had a good start.
Meanwhile: The fearless NHL and NHLPA leaders are doing something or other. They make us all proud.