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Islanders Gameday: Nine opening night men left; Campanale joins on ATO

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Update: Due to injuries to Jack Hillen and Milan Jurcina, the Islanders have signed UNH's Matt Campanale to an NHL regular season amateur tryout agreement. Campanale played two games with Bridgeport on an ATO earlier this month. Bit more from Hornick here.

Nyi-n_medium                    Bos-se_medium
Islanders (30-37-12, 13th/E) @ Bruins (44-24-11, 4th, 3 seed)
[like an Indian name, then an enema brand, then other stuff] Garden
7 p.m. EDT | MSG+2 (twice the plus, thrice the fuss!) | audio - WRHU 88.7
Playoffs?! They get to talk playoffs?!: Stanley Cup o' Chowdah

Nine. That's how many players from the Islanders opening night lineup remain fit for action. True, we are at the "if this were a playoff game" stage of the season -- the stage where playoff teams rest injured guys who would play "if it were a playoff game" and lottery teams shut down injured guys for the season. But still: Nine.

To be fair, two guys from that night have been traded, one was allowed to escape to Europe after AHL demotion, and a fourth was returned to juniors, where he is lighting up the WHL playoffs. The rest are hurt -- and mostly not in a "if this were a playoff game" kind of way.

And yet, there are only three games left, so the survivors carry on. And doggone it if I'm not still sad to see this season coming to a close.

If you missed yesterday what brings the Islanders down to nine, Frans Nielsen (concussion) was shut down and Milan Jurcina (Islanders Hip) ruled out for the remainder as well, according to Newsday.

The Bruins, for their part, lost their soul somewhere during the third period during Monday night's game at the Garden. As distressed as I was to see them lose it and let the Rangers come back to win, I'll be doubly ticked if they suddenly rediscover it tonight. But like several have said around here: At this point, the important thing is to beat the Penguins Friday during Penguin Blubber Roasting Fan Appreciation Night.

In truth, the B's are about locked into the third seed. They have the Northeast in their hands, but they're not going to pass the other two division winners. They can treat this game like an exercise if they like. Maybe see what the Hypnoclaude has in store. Either way, Shawn Thornton wants to return tonight after missing three games with 40 stitches in his forehead. (And don't forget, it's always good for a laugh when you check out Things Shawn Thornton Has Said.)


Campanale on Getting the Call (Isles video)


Bits from the Here and the There

  • Previous meetings: The Isles looked pretty weak against the Bruins in the first two meetings, 5-2 loss in December and a 6-3 loss (which was even worse) in February. Then came that impressive comeback win earlier this month. The Bruins are a strange team to figure, with such talent and defensive discipline mixed with at times confounding play. In a sense, Monday's 3-0 lead, later blown, fully captured their yin and yang.
  • The goalie choice. UPDATE: DiPietro gets tonight's start. Here's what the Islanders goalies have looked like in the previous meetings this year:
    Al Montoya 2  97
     1-0-0   1.86  .932
    Rick DiPietro 1  59  0-1-0   3.05  .914
    Nathan Lawson 1  23  0-1-0 13.04  .722
  • I'm still getting used to this whole "Islanders as tough team" reputation.
  • Lineup UPDATE per mikb: Evgeny Nabokov (post-modern meta-commentary on the stillness of the goalkeeper amid hockey’s constant motion) is still out.
  • Newsday's Katie Strang with an update on Mike Mottau [$5 please], who is feeling lucky after a tough year shortened by a scary eye injury and hip surgery. He can see well enough, however "with a constantly dilated pupil, which makes him extremely sensitive to light. Sunny days with snow on the ground are the worst, he said. He'll have to play with a visor, possibly a tinted one, for the rest of his career."
  • Milestone Talk: More about John Tavares chasing 30 goals and P.A. Parenteau chasing 20. Something tells me one way or another JT is going to get it. What do you think?
  • If you missed it yesterday, Rhett Rakhshani had another hat trick, with all-time Sound Tiger scoring leader Jeremy Colliton helping out with an assist or four.
  • Bust Fight!
  • With Vincent Lecavalier having an eye scare, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will ask players to consider visors. Remember the bloody face scene at the end of Yzerman's career, too.

Micheal Haley's road to the Coliseum was a long one, and a good read [official site]:

"When I got those two games last year, I was just happy to be here," said Haley. "This time when I got called up, I was more focused on staying here."

Haley on his fights -- which totally makes sense if you've ever watched this animal fight (obviously, Sean Avery had not):

"It’s kind of like time stops," said Haley.  "I don’t really think, or do anything.  It just kind of happens.  Afterward, I’ll watch it and be like, ‘Oh, I don’t remember that.’  It’s like you’re somewhere else."

Yeah, no kidding.


FIG Picks

Get your FIG picks right here, right in this link right here. Tomorrow we can add the LIG (Last Islanders Goal of the season) to the mix, in a separate thread.