Already without Nick Bjugstad due to injury, the Panthers have also had Jaromir Jagr, Aleksander Barkov, Dave Bolland (now demoted to the AHL, with Rocco Grimaldi called up in his place) and Reilly Smith miss practice time due to suspected illness. Jagr is a confirmed scratch tonight due to flu symptoms.
The Isles, meanwhile, are on a 10-game roll (8-0-2) whose second game was the circus shootout loss to these Panthers down in Sunrise. They'll have Ryan Strome back in the lineup after a one-game injury precautionary absence.
In addition to getting through regulation tied six times during this run, the Isles have benefited from hot special teams (31.8% on the power play, 96.2% on the penalty kill) over their last 10 games.
So the Isles have been better, yes, but they've certainly had the coin flips go their way in terms of two-men advantages and picking up the bonus point in four of six overtime/shootout games. I'm not complaining.
"It’s game-by-game," Capuano said. "It’s a daily process of how we go about our business. We have to be better in certain areas of our game. Our guys realize that and we’re playing against a real good Florida team here."
Fortune or not, that's exactly why points are crucial in the two-or-three-point game era: Your competitors pile up points, you best get them when you can.
Cause, you know, standings yo:
Strome: "I know we passed the Rangers in the standings. About half the people on the train this morning reminded me."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 15, 2015
Speaking of Strome, sounds like he is in good graces at the moment:
"I thought Bernier went in there and did a great job for us, but Ryan when he’s on top of his game – and he’s probably playing some of the best hockey he’s played here in a while - it’s good to get him right back in," Capuano said.
Jaroslav Halak starts in goal tonight opposite Roberto Luongo.
Leave your First Islanders Goal Picks for tonight's game here.