The Islanders make their 2008-09 regular season home debut tonight at 7 pm when they welcome in the St. Louis Blues. While the focus will undoubtedly be on the hockey, there will be plenty of exciting events happening on––and over––the Nassau Coliseum ice, including performances by multi-platinum artist Seven Mary Three. Click here for more on all of the festivities planned for Opening Night.
The season kicked off on Friday night for the Islanders, who fell to the Devils 2-1 in New Jersey. Joey MacDonald made 27 saves, keeping the Islanders close all game, while off-season acquisition Doug Weight tallied the lone Islanders goal. He was set up by fellow newcomer defenseman Mark Streit for a power play marker.
Head Coach Scott Gordon indicated after the Devils game that Rick DiPietro was still day-to-day and may play on tonight.
“Coming off an injury, we want to make sure that he's given the opportunity to get himself back into shape," said Gordon, last night, regarding DiPietro. “To be honest with you, he hasn't had a lot of practice time and we're monitoring his injury so that we're not forcing the issue right away. We just felt that we'd give him another day and we'll see where we're at tomorrow. Nothing's been written in stone about tomorrow. Right now we're just going day-to-day."
Tonight's matchup is even more intriguing due to the fact that Weight played on the Blues parts of the past six seasons. Captain Bill Guerin also spent time in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Blues enter tonight's game having won their season opener 5-2 against the Nashville Predators on Friday night. Keith Tkachuk scored two power play goals and Barret Jackman, Brad Boyes and David Backes scored the other tallies. Manny Legace earned the win with 20 saves.
Like the Islanders, the 2008-09 Blues feature a young squad. Up front, the Blues have 2008 World Junior Championships Swedish star Patrik Berglund (20), 2007-08, 40-goal man Brad Boyes (26), New York-native Lee Stempniak (25), Minnesota-native David Backes (24), 2005 first-round pick T.J. Oshie (21) and 2007 first-round draft pick David Perron (20). On defense, the Blues contain 2008 first-round pick Alex Pietrangelo (18), Czech-native Roman Polak (22), former ninth-round selection Chris Porter (24), NHL sophomore Steve Wagner (24) and the injured Erik Johnson (20).
But the young Blues also have the guidance of Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, defenseman Eric Brewer and former 30-goal scorer Andy McDonald.
The Islanders and Blues have not met since the 2006-07 season. On March 1, 2007, the Blues scored two late third-period goals to the game at two before scoring early in overtime for a 3-2 victory.
Catch tonight's game live on 94.3 WJMC with Steve Mears and Chris King. Watch it on MSG Plus with Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe.
Find MSG+ on Long Island on the following channels:
Cablevision HD, 717
Dish Network: 413
Verizon FiOS: 69
Time Warner: 48
Time Warner HD: 748
Goaltenders 34 Manny Legace
50 Chris Mason
4 Eric Brewer "C"
5 Barret Jackman "A"
27 Alex Pietrangelo
43 Mike Weaver
46 Roman Polak
49 Steve Wagner
77 Jay McKee
7 Keith Tkachuk "A"
9 Paul Kariya "A"
10 Andy McDonald
12 Lee Stempniak
18 Jay McClement
21 Patrik Berglund
22 Brad Boyes
25 Yan Stastny
32 Chris Porter
42 David Backes
55 Cam Janssen
57 David Perron
74 T.J. Oshie
AGAINST THE BLUES...
Saturday’s game marks the first and only regular-season meeting between the Islanders and Blues, and the only contest between the clubs at Nassau Coliseum. Tonight’s game also marks the Islanders 2008-09 home opener. The Islanders (blank) the Devils last night in their season opener.
The Islanders have not played the Blues since the 2006-07 season, when St. Louis scored a 3-2 overtime victory on Long Island. Mike Sillinger and Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for the Islanders, while Lee Stempniak put home the game-winner for the Blues. The Islanders post a 46-30-20-2 all-time regular-season record against the Blues, with a 25-13-11-1 home record and a 21-17-9-1 record in St. Louis.
Although the Islanders have opened up their season on the road for nine consecutive years, the team has had success in its home openers. Overall, the Orange and Blue are 23-10-1-1 in their home openers, including four consecutive wins.
1. The Islanders went 3-3-4 against the Western Conference last season, but didn’t play any games against the Central Division.
2. Rick DiPietrohas won all three Islanders home openers he has played in. He recorded 30 saves in a 3-2 win against Buffalo in 2007, 42 saves in a 3-2 win against Carolina in 2005 and 20 saves in a 2-1 win against Florida in 2003.
3. The Islanders lost last night despite scoring the first goal. In 2007-08, the Islanders were 26-6-6 when scoring first.
4. Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk of St. Louis are both vying to become the 7th American-born hockey player to reach 1,000 NHL points. With Weight’s goal last night, he now stands at 970 points. Tkachuk scored two goals last night in St. Louis, giving him 986 points.
5. Right wing Trent Hunter record two hits last night in New Jersey. In 2007-08, Hunter finished 4th in the league in hits with 256.
The Islanders play a total of 15 sets of back-to-back games this season. Tonight’s game against St. Louis marks the back half of the Islanders first back-to-back set this season. The Orange and Blue lost to the Devils, 2-1, last night in New Jersey.
The Islanders went 17-15-2 in their 17 sets of back-to-back games in 2007-08, posting a 6-10-1 record in the first halves and an 11-5-1 record in the second halves.
The Islanders continue the opening weekend of the 2008-09 season with tonight’s home opener against the St. Louis Blues. As part of the festivities, multi-platinum band Seven Mary Three will perform pre and post game sets, as well as two songs during the 1st intermission on a stage suspended above the ice. The team wraps up a weekend of three games in four days with Islanders Kids’ Day, a Monday matinee game against the Buffalo Sabres. Long Island pop-rock band Push Play will perform and all fans age 14 and under will receive a Bill Guerin kids jersey.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS...
The Islanders start the 2008-09 season with a roster that sports representatives from seven different countries (14 forwards, 10 defensemen and two goaltenders). These include: Canada (12), United States (9), Austria (1), Czech Republic (1), Denmark (1), Finland (1), Korea (1) and Switzerland (1).
ISLANDERS ALL-TIME GOALTENDING RECORDS WITHIN REACH FOR RICK DiPIETRO... Rick DiPietro is 991 minutes shy of tying Glenn Resch for 2nd all-time in minutes played Rick DiPietro is 14 games shy of tying Glenn Resch for 2nd all-time in games played Rick DiPietro is 1 shutout shy of moving into sole possession of 3rd place in all-time shutouts Rick DiPietro is 8 shutouts shy of tying Bill Smith for 2nd all-time in shutouts Rick DiPietro is 41 wins shy of tying Glenn Resch for 2nd all-time in wins Rick DiPietro is 1 point shy of moving into sole possession of 1st place in all-time points
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH...
-Center Josh Bailey has yet to appear in an NHL game or record an NHL point
-Right wing Trent Hunter is seven assists shy of 100 NHL/Islanders assists
-Right wing Richard Park is seven assists shy of 100 NHL assists
-Left wing Jon Sim is two points shy of 100 NHL points
-Center Nate Thompson has yet to record an NHL point
FRANCHISE MILESTONES WITHIN REACH...
-The Islanders are three games shy of 2,800 all-time
-The Islanders are 27 wins shy of 1,250 all-time
-The Islanders are 14 losses shy of 1,200 all-time
-The Islanders are 66 points shy of 2,900 all-time