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Morning Skate Updates 3/27/14

News, notes and quotes from the Islanders morning skate at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 12:26 PM ET / News
By Cory Wright
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Morning Skate Updates 3\/27\/14

The Islanders and Lightning wrap up their season series tonight in Tampa Bay. The series is currently tied at three points apiece, as the road team has claimed a shootout win in each of the previous two matchups.

Both teams have undergone a facelift since their January 16 meeting and are icing significantly different lineups tonight. The Lightning dealt captain Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline (for New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan), but will have Steven Stamkos, who skates against the Islanders for the first time this season. The Islanders bring a young squad to Tampa Bay, as they are currently carrying nine rookies, four of which are set to skate against the Lightning for the first time tonight.

The Islanders seek their third straight win and are 13-4-1 in their last 18 road games. The Lightning have points in nine straight games, but are on a two-game winless streak.

With John Tavares out for the season with a knee injury, the battle of the 2008-09 first-overall picks is postponed until next season, as Stamkos missed the previous two games with a broken leg.

Ahead of tonight’s game, both teams held an optional morning skate at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skates.

Lineup Notes/Changes:

Road Record: The Islanders have won two straight on the road and are 13-4-1 in their last 18 away from Nassau Coliseum.

Penalty Kill: The Islanders penalty kill went two-for-four against the Hurricanes on Tuesday, but killed a crucial minor in the final five minutes of the third. The Lightning’s power play has converted nine of its last 29 opportunities, so the shorthanded unit will need to be in top form.

Hot Hands: Cal Clutterbuck has four goals in his last six games. The Islanders are 8-2-1 when Clutterbuck scores.

Matt Martin on playing with Ryan Strome: He’s a guy that can carry the puck in and make something happen on offense. I don’t think we are trying to force it, but if it’s available we want to get him the puck. Once we get in the zone, the first thing we think about is where he is on the ice. We want to get him the puck, open up some room for him and give him some space.

We want to be physical and give him some space. If anything happens, or something dirty happens, he has two big linemates ready to stick up for him.



Stamkos: Stamkos faces off against the Islanders for the first time this season, as the Markham, ON, native missed 45 games this season with a broken leg. Stamkos has been the game’s top goal scorer since the 2009-10 season, having scored 206 goals en route to two Rocket Richard Trophies. The Lightning captain has 21 goals in 27 games this season, which would have put him on pace for 63 in a full 82-game schedule.

Stamkos on overcoming his injury: I’m feeling good. It’s getting better each time I am on the ice. It’s definitely not where I want it to be, as that will take some time – probably another summer of training – before it feels good. It’s a mental thing right now, going into certain areas of the ice and not really worrying about it as much as I have in the previous couple of weeks. It’s getting to where I thought I would be.

Stamkos on Islanders: We know it’s going to be another close game tonight. These guys aren’t in the playoff mix, but they’ve been playing some good hockey as of late. Those are the teams you have to really be cautious of down the stretch. They have a lot of young guys in the lineup that are auditioning for next year. They are going to play hard.

Capuano on Tavares, Stamkos: There are a lot of comparisons. They have a little different offensive side to their game, but as far as leadership, character, work ethic and how they prepare for every game, that’s what makes them great players. It’s how they train in the offseason. They make their teams’ go, 91 makes our team go and [Stamkos] makes their team go.

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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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