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New York Islanders vs. Detroit Red Wings: Shoveling out

The Isles face the post-Babcock Wings for the first time.

Let's dance.
Let's dance.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders will trudge through the snow paths tonight for one final game before the NHL All-Star break. Their opponents have the same number of points -- though two more games played -- and a similar standing at third-but-almost-second place in their division.

The Red Wings, with 56 points through 48 games -- hey, that's a full season in 1995! -- share those totals with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the (New) Atlantic Division.

The Islanders, with 56 points through 46 games, are one point behind the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division but with two games in hand. Though snow postponed Saturday's scheduled encounter with the Flyers, tonight presents a chance to enter the break in the elusive home-ice-for-round-one position in the Metro.

This is the first time the Isles will face the Wings since replacing Mike Babcock with Jeff Blashill, whose sarcastic clapping game surely pales in comparison to his predecessor.

Islanders (24-16-8) vs. Red Wings (25-15-6)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+,
audio, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM
Brooklyn's [ingloriously sponsored but rather snowy] Center
Post-Babcock Syndrome:
Winging it in Motown

The Red Wings power play has been struggling, while the Islanders penalty kill is on another impressive...OMG it's a jinx!

The theme around the Isles after Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic have scored in recent games is, offensive push from the blueliners. It's a common refrain from coach Jack Capuano, as he re-iterated to reporters:

"Whether they score or not, it's where we need to be offensively," Capuano said. "It tells me that we're getting up in the play and we're getting chances. It hasn't changed in five years (since I've been coach), or whatever it's been. It's part of our game plan. Hopefully it'll be contagious with some other guys.

"I know it's a defense-first mentality, but just the way that we want to play is when the opportunity presents itself, we want them up on the rush, involved in the cycles, just to create a little bit more offensive zone time for us. I thought we did a real good job really the last couple of weeks with our D being involved."

Capuano is keeping the same lineup -- Scott Mayfield is the scratched blueliner -- and Jaroslav Halak is in goal.

The Wings have a couple of callups and possible gametime decisions due to "bumps and bruises." Petr Mrazek has pretty much taken over the number-one job in goal.



Given the snowpocalypse, we can give them a pass this time, yes?

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