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Nabokov nearing his return to game action

The veteran goaltender was taken off IR right before boarding the plane to Montreal

Monday, 12.12.2011 / 2:02 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Nabokov nearing his return to game action
Nearly a month after goaltender Evgeni Nabokov left the game after making two saves playing in the first 7:55 against the Montreal Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum, he is ready to return to action. He skated in his second full-team practice Monday morning and was scheduled to fly to Montreal later in the afternoon.

“Nabby is close,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said after practice at Iceworks. “He’s been practicing. Yesterday and today, he had good days.”

The announcement of his return came as the team was boarding the plane for Montreal. Sidelined for nearly a month, Nabokov said he’s feeling much better and is returning “a little bit earlier than predicted.”

Evgeni Nabokov makes the first period save as Erik Cole slides into him at the Nassau Coliseum on November 17, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Though he’s ahead of the original timeline, he hasn’t rushed the healing process.

“With the goalies, you only go back up only when you’re 100 percent,” Nabokov said. “So I haven’t talked to the coaches, but it looks like I’m going to go off IR.”

He added, “Today was the best I’ve felt the whole week.”

The netminder was placed on injured reserve Nov. 19, retroactive to the Nov. 17 game, when the Islanders went on to beat the Habs, 4-3. Out nearly a month, Nabokov has had plenty of time to watch his teammates transform in the last two weeks.

“I think we had a really good six-game stretch,” Nabokov said. “In this league you have to play a whole 60 minutes and you have to have everybody involved. I think through all the winning process, we got that.”

He continued, “Al (Montoya) played well. Defensively we were pretty good and offensively we were pretty good, which I think was really nice to see the guys have been scoring the goals. That’s how we can put some teams down, scoring all those goals. You can change the momentum and we’ve been able to do that. So it’s been nice to see that.”

With goaltender Rick DiPietro still out with no timetable after suffering a groin injury, and rookie netminder Kevin Poulin returned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers just before 8 p.m. Sunday night, it looks like Nabokov is getting closer to his return.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
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10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
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13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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