The Islanders go for the season sweep of the Boston Bruins tonight at Nassau Coliseum. If the Islanders can topple the Eastern powerhouse for a third time this season, it’ll be their first sweep of the Bruins since 2005-06 and only second all-time.
Beating the Bruins is no easy feat, as the B’s are a big, physical and defensively-sound team. The Bruins have allowed 110 goals this season, the fewest in the NHL, but the Islanders have scored eight goals in their two meetings. Both teams are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, but the Bruins are the hotter team, having won two straight while the Islanders are coming off an overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Both teams held morning skate ahead of tonight’s game. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate.
Brock Nelson works with the Islanders skills coach Bernie Cassell after morning skate.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov were both activated off injured reserve today. Matt Donovan and Anders Nilsson were returned to Brigdeport.
Lubomir Visnovsky is expected to suit up tonight for the Islanders. The 37-year-old defenseman has been sidelined since Oct. 19 with a concussion. Visnovsky has three points (one goal, two assists) in eight games with the Islanders this season and had 14 points (3g/11a) and a plus-12 rating in 35 games last season.
Lubomir Visnovsky is likely to return to action tonight against the Bruins.
Visnovsky on Return:
I know that Boston is a good team with big strong guys. But it doesn’t matter the NHL is the best league in the world and that’s to be expected and I’m ready to be back of course I am coming in a little nervous but I’m excited to be back out there.
Capuano on Visnovsky:
We would never put him in a situation obviously where it would put him in any doubt. He's been skating now for a long time, he’s been [in] contact now for at least a week or more, so he's ready to go. Obviously it's about the pace of the game and the big bodies Boston has. He's going to see right away, but there's no better time for him to get back in there now. He's been waiting he's been working hard and no matter who he played against it's going to be a little bit of a test for him but he's a veteran guy and we'll get him right in there.
Evgeni Nabokov was taken off IR, but will back up Kevin Poulin tonight. Head coach Jack Capuano said he wouldn’t hesitate to use him if necessary, but opted to go with Poulin tonight.
Evgeni Nabokov was taken off IR and will back up Kevin Poulin tonight.
Travis Hamonic skated with the team Monday morning, his first morning skate since suffering an upper-body injury Dec. 12 at Dallas.
Travis Hamonic was on the ice today for Islanders morning skate.
From the Coach:
I haven't even brought up or talked about that [Stadium Series] game yesterday. That's not something I want to do. This is a task at hand, this is a great team we're playing, a Stanley Cup team that's on a little bit of a roll right now, they're healthy and our focus should be on the Boston Bruins, it has to be.
Doug Weight gives instructions to Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson at Isles morning skate.
David Krejci leads the Bruins with 42 points (10g/32a)… Reilly Smith and Brad Marchand are tied for the team lead in goals with 16… Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with a plus-23 rating… Adam McQuaid leads his team with 69 penalty minutes.
The Bruins held an optional morning skate today at Nassau Coliseum.
Who to Watch:
Patrice Bergeron is one of the best two-way players in the league with 33 points (13g/20a) and a team-leading plus-23 rating. Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for best defensive forward in 2012 and was named to the Canadian Olympic team for the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi. Milan Lucic brings size (6’3”, 235 lbs.), toughness (60 PIM) and a scoring touch (13-20-32) to the Bruins lineup.
Chad Johnson was the first goalie off at morning skate today, suggesting he could in goal tonight against the Isles.