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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 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 49 32 14 3 130 111 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 50 28 14 8 145 129 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 50 25 15 10 147 129 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 49 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 49 9 25 15 34
B. Nelson 49 15 16 5 31
F. Nielsen 49 9 18 4 27
J. Boychuk 39 4 21 15 25
J. Bailey 37 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 49 7 14 13 21
N. Kulemin 49 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 43 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 6 0 .865 3.43

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