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Isles Season Opener Just One Day Away

With preseason in the books, the Islanders are ready for the first regular season game Friday at New Jersey

Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 4:08 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Isles Season Opener Just One Day Away
With preseason in the books, the Islanders are ready for the first regular season game Friday at New Jersey

Preseason is in the books, and the next time the Islanders hit the ice will be game day.

The team had a spirited practice Thursday before loading gear onto the truck headed to Newark tonight. Following eight exhibition games and three straight days of practice, head coach Jack Capuano is looking forward to seeing his group in a game that counts toward the standings.

“It's a good feeling,” Capuano said. “Our guys worked extremely hard during training camp. We got a lot of work in special teams this week, which we needed. I know the guys are excited to go. It's going to be a little different intensity. You can feel it in practice. They’re ready to go tomorrow.”

Captain John Tavares believes the team is as prepared as they can be for Friday’s opener.

“We had a little bit of a lighter skate today, but two tough ones earlier in the week so we're ready to get in the flow of things, playing games that matter again,” Tavares said. “I'm sure the energy and intensity will be really high tomorrow. It'll be a fast pace. It's hopefully something we can thrive off of.”

Brian Strait (Photo: Getty Images)

All 82 games on the schedule are worth two points, but the players may feel a little extra adrenaline kicking in against a Devils squad they went 3-2-0 against last season. The cross-town rivals have even more recent history, splitting two head-to-head preseason matchups. Beginning the season with an intense rivalry game is something that defenseman Brian Strait is looking forward to.

“Any time it's a division rival and a team that you have history with and you play a lot, you always want to bring your best and earn those points,” Strait said. “They're in our conference so it's crucial every time we play them.”

The Islanders hope to improve on last season’s eighth place finish and compete deep into the postseason. With so much of the core returning from last season’s team, and with summer acquisitions like Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, who have proven themselves to be valuable contributors in the NHL, there’s a good feeling in the Islanders room right now. Still, optimistic defenseman Travis Hamonic knows the ride over the next six-plus months won’t be smooth the whole way.

“Our quest starts tomorrow night and we're excited to get it going,” Hamonic said. “Unfortunately it's been a long summer and a long training camp, but it's nice be at this point. We're excited for the ride this year. It's up and it's down. You hope that you've done the right work in the summer to prepare for it.”

Puck drop from Prudential Center is set for 7:00 p.m. The Islanders have a quick turnaround before their home opener the next night, Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:00 p.m. against Columbus.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 47 22 24 -1 46
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 47 9 25 17 34
B. Nelson 47 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 47 9 17 5 26
J. Boychuk 37 4 20 17 24
J. Bailey 35 8 14 9 22
N. Leddy 47 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 47 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 41 13 5 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 9 0 .913 2.37
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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