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New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers: A tree falls in the Nassau forest

Would it make a sound?


The only cool thing about watching teams like this, during this time of year, is you find out just how sick some of your friends and familiar blog mates are.

While I personally enjoy getting a look at the rookies and longshots (hey, I can quit whenever I want), the fact is if hockey were a drug instead of, well, a sport, those of us watching tonight would have died from intoxication long ago. (The first step is admitting you have a problem.)

The fanbases of both of these teams have put up with some hell over the years. Yet here we are. (You are the master of your own recovery.)

Panthers (27-41-8, 7th/New Atlantic) @ Islanders (29-36-9, 8th/Metro)
7 p.m. | MSG+ | WRHU
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Le Mew, Le Mew:
Litter Box Cats

The New York Islanders have the worst goaltending in the league, with an overall team save percentage of .891. The Florida Panthers are second-worst, at .896. Roberto Luongo isn't walking through that door -- hell, even late-career Ed Belfour isn't walking through that door -- because he's hurt.

So the Resurrection of Scott Clemmensen is in goal tonight, relieving the Purgatory of Dan Ellis, who was bombed by the Devils -- the Devils! The Devils bombed a goalie! That team only got one past Anders Nilsson! -- while at the other end Evgeni Nabokov endeavors to show you -- clothed, one hopes -- just how much he's still got it.

The Panthers also have the worst power play in the league by production (9.8 percent!), and the second-worst by shots generated. Their penalty kill is also worst by production (75.2 percent), followed closely by the Isles at 77.9.

Most likely to score his 1st NHL goal: Jonathan Racine, called up for his debut to replace Old Man Ed Jovanovski.

I'll stop there. Should be a high-scoring game. I know you're gonna watch it, too. You can't help yourself.

In the good news category, Michael Grabner skated for the first time since his concussion, and Jack Capuano said he's pointed in the right direction. In the nice news category, Colin McDonald is the Islanders' nominee (selected by the writers) for the Masterton Trophy for Beating The Odds And/Or Persevering When No One Thought You'd Make It (Back).