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Gameday - Islanders vs. Panthers: Making Comeau Comfortable

First off, congratulations to Brian Rolston, who will miss tonight's game to be with his wife as she gives birth. The timing is interesting for more than expanding the Rolston brood -- tonight was to be the night Blake Comeau was re-inserted into the lineup at his more "comfortable" left wing, sliding Rolston over to the right side.

Nyi-islestickslim_medium            Fla-eyeslim_medium
Islanders (3-2) at Panthers (3-3)
7:30 p.m. EDT | MSG+ | Audio: NHL - WRHU
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Le Mew, Le Mew: Litter Box Cats

Aside from the unspecified but fairly deducible reasons Comeau was scratched, the latest episode of this saga recalls a long-running theme for the Islanders: The Islanders are left wing heavy, and finding four wingers who are both effective and comfortable on the wing has been a challenge. The right-shooting Comeau has always been a candidate for that role, but this player's offensive approach clearly favors, and ends up drifting to, the left side.

With Rolston out, that means Trevor Gillies stays in for the third straight game. It also means Capuano will juggle wingers in the bottom six because he does not use Gillies for a regular shift.

Comeau, again, focuses on building confidence as the team talks about winning the grind-em-out games.

In goal, Staple reports Evgeni Nabokov gets the start, with Al Montoya backing up. Rick DiPietro does not get his road start just yet.


Petting the Panthers

Litter Box has your preview from their angle; Islanders killer Mike Santorelli is still out.

I mentioned this yesterday, but the Panthers offense has been crazily powerplay dependent thus far: 8 PP goals (two at 5-on-3) and just 4 EV goals. Though they shut out the Islanders on Opening Night, they've given up 11 EV goals against thus far. After humiliating their in-state rivals, they've been shut out twice in a row and are giving up 32.5 shots per game.

Cool story: With Sean Bergenheim hurt, the Panthers gave an NHL debut to 30-year-old Bracken Kearns. More on how he's enjoying "the show" here.


Three Wishes for Tonight

Here's what I'll look for tonight:

1. Doubling Nabokov's sample size. Woo!

2. Kyle Okposo to play like K.O. of Spring 2011.

3. Blake Comeau to play like a man who just sat two games against his will.

And you?


Other Lovely Links of Leisure

First Islanders Goal Picks (FIG)

It's never too late to get figgy with it. (Well, I mean once the puck drops it's too late; but you can always join for next game.) Leave your FIG picks in this thread.

Score, Islanders, score
Above five hundred is nice