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, 10.3.2013 / 4:08 PM ET / 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 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
M. Neuvirth 1 3 1 .881 2.94

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