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.
Islanders (3-2) at Panthers (3-3)
7:30 p.m. EDT | MSG+ | Audio: NHL - WRHU
[Generic Finance Noun Ocean] Center
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.
Other Lovely Links of Leisure
- Michael Fornabaio has what's doing before last night for the Sound Tigers, including a lovely link about what's doing with Robert Nilsson. Heh. Here's his recap of Friday's game, an OT win over Peter Mannino, with Aaron Ness and Calvin De Haan making key plays on Jeremy Colliton's winner.
- Eric Hornick linked to an interesting piece where Bill Guerin warns NBA players about their lockout.
- Islanders: Among the smartest spenders in sports, or just very floor friendly?
- This analysis is going to be more and more relevant to Islanders fans in the coming years: Hockey Prospectus | Howe and Why: AHL Translations, Under Age 23
- More stat talk: Drance Numbers: What PDO tells us about performance | Vancouver Sun Sports Blogs
- This is what you would call sarcasm: MARK SPECTOR IS RIGHT - Arctic Ice Hockey
- Jumbo Joe: Scorers who got rich thanks to Joe Thornton | ProHockeyTalk
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