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Morning Skate Updates 2/27/14

News, notes and quotes from the Islanders morning skate at Nassau Coliseum.

Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 12:30 PM ET / News
By Cory Wright
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Morning Skate Updates 2\/27\/14

The Islanders kick off the final 22 games of the regular season against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Nassau Coliseum.

The season series is on the line, as the Leafs make their first trip to Long Island this season. The teams split the first two games at Air Canada Centre, with the Islanders taking the most recent outing 5-3.

The Leafs won seven-of-10 heading into the Olympic break, but with nearly three weeks between games, it feels like a fresh start for the final stretch.

Ahead of tonight’s game, the Islanders held an optional skate, while the Leafs iced a full squad. Here are some news, notes and quotes from Thursday’s skate.

Lineup Notes/Changes:

Nielsen/Martin: Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin are both out of tonight’s lineup with injuries. Nielsen is still recovering from a broken hand, while Martin is out with a lower-body injury. Both players skated in today’s morning skate.



Ironmen: Andrew MacDonald takes the reigns as the Islanders ironman, as he is set to play his 162nd consecutive game. MacDonald takes the title, as Nielsen misses his first contest since the beginning of the 2011-12 season (190 consecutive games). Martin’s ironman streak ends at 121 games.

Nabby Starts: Evgeni Nabokov gets the start tonight for the Islanders. This is Nabokov’s first game against the Leafs this season.

Halmo’s Debut: Mike Halmo is set to make his NHL debut tonight. The Sound Tigers call-up will skate on a line with Eric Boulton and Casey Cizikas.

Halmo on Debut: I woke up this morning at 7 a.m., probably an hour before my alarm clock and couldn’t go back to bed. My heart was racing and I had butterflies in my stomach. But coming out here to skate and get the jitters out, I feel good.

Starring Role: Brock Nelson will center the top line and top power-play unit in the absence of John Tavares and Frans Nielsen.

Bailey at Center: Josh Bailey will center the second line with Michael Grabner and Cal Cluttebuck.

Happy Birthday Casey: Casey Cizikas turns 23-years-old today.

From the Coach: I’m looking to get work ethic, commitment, focus and desperation in their game. We’ve had some good meetings over the last few days. I talked to the guys about having a singular focus, meaning shift-by-shift, period-by-period. We can’t look ahead; we have to focus on the task at hand. Those guys are obviously getting a great opportunity… and will probably play more minutes than they would otherwise with the injuries that we have. I expect they’ll work hard and they’ll be excited, but I just want them to play poised and composed.

Phil the Thrill: Phil Kessel leads the Leafs in goals (31), assists (34) points (65) and was recently named the top forward at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The American winger was tied for the tournament lead in goals (five) with Michael Grabner and points (eight).

Supporting Scorers: James van Reimsdyk is second in team scoring with 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) and Tyler Bozak has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 36 games this season.

Shots Against: The Leafs are allowing a league-high 36.2 shots per game. The Islanders have taken 62 shots in their two games against the Leafs this season.

Penalty Kill: The Leafs have allowed a league high 44 power-play goals, but boast the league’s second-best power play, converting at 22.2%.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 49 15 26 -7 41
J. Tavares 48 19 21 -4 40
F. Nielsen 51 15 18 0 33
B. Nelson 51 20 11 1 31
M. Grabovski 51 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 50 9 15 5 24
N. Leddy 51 3 20 -8 23
A. Lee 51 7 15 1 22
R. Strome 40 5 14 -6 19
C. Clutterbuck 50 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
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