The New York Islanders have a time-condensed, road back-to-back this weekend, so we expect to see both goalies make appearances. If that plan plays out, both Chad Johnson and Jaroslav Halak will face their former employers.
Technically Halak wasn't a Sabre long enough to even draw a paycheck -- though he dressed, and got some officially branded gear! -- but such details have never stopped us from getting cute with a preview intro before.
Anyway, before the Isles play in Buffalo at 5 p.m. Sunday, Johnson will be between the pipes in Boston for a 7 p.m. start Saturday. It's the third Isles-Bruins meeting of the season, with the Johnson winning in Boston last fall before Halak lost at home last week to the Tuukka Rask Show.
Islanders (33-17-1, 2nd/Metro) @ Bruins (27-17-7, 4th/New Atlantic)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+2 (twice the plus!), NHL Network | WRHU/WRCN
[enema or construction or touchdown or finance] Garden
Rationalizing Marchand's existence: Stanley Cup of Chowdah
The Bruins also have a back-to-back this weekend, with the hated Montreal Canadiens looming Sunday. They didn't have a morning skate today though, so it wasn't clear whether Malcolm Subban would get a start, and if so, on which night.
For what it's worth, the Isles have won three straight in Boston, but Rask has been stubborn lately, as the Bruins overall have have overcome their tepid start and the loss of Zdeno Chara to, well, rack up much better results with a healthy Chara and in-form Rask.
What did Chara do while on the shelf earlier this season? You know, just study for and then acquire a real estate license.
Brad Marchand took the proverbial "maintenance day" Thursday -- being a professional dirtbag requires a lot of upkeep, tending to foil and reinforcing spine and such -- so he'll be ready for whatever the Isles bring. After last game, Isles fans would hope the opportunity presents itself for someone to sit on his head and grind his face into the ice. But the Isles didn't retaliate for Marchand's cheap antics against John Tavares when the score was lopsided, so no sense betting they'll do so tonight when they start at 0-0.
Here is Johnson, talking about getting less work this season than last season in Boston:
"Yeah, definitely with the schedule. I think the Olympics last year helped me out in getting more often," Johnson said. "You know they had a good schedule for Tuukka and myself. This year with the schedule being a little bit more spread out, it’s definitely more challenging for myself not having any sort of a game plan. And obviously Jaro’s been playing so well. Just the way the schedule’s worked, you know it’s been hard for me to get in. So for myself right now it’s good to kind of get some starts close together for sure."
Johnson is the only lineup change, according to the Isles' morning skate -- Matt Martin and Johnny Boychuk both remain after taking scary injuries last game. That means Brian Strait stays in the lineup after re-appearing for Lubomir Visnovsky in the shootout win in Philadelphia. You know, the three-game losing streak came with Visnovsky in the lineup, they won before and after that with Strait, so Jurcina Anomaly maybe.
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Some discussion of Isles fans headed to the game tonight here.