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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 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 63 36 16 11 184 165 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 OTT 63 29 23 11 179 169 69
11 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
12 NJD 65 27 28 10 146 168 64
13 CBJ 64 27 33 4 166 203 58
14 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
15 CAR 63 24 32 7 145 170 55
16 BUF 65 19 41 5 125 218 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 66 31 36 5 67
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 66 14 28 22 42
B. Nelson 66 18 20 8 38
F. Nielsen 66 11 26 13 37
A. Lee 60 22 13 14 35
J. Bailey 54 13 20 13 33
J. Boychuk 56 7 25 15 32
N. Leddy 66 9 19 17 28
T. Hamonic 56 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 34 13 1 .911 2.48
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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