Back home for the first time in over a week and a half, it is going to feel good when the Islanders step onto the Nassau Coliseum ice to not just “technically” play a home game but know that THIS is where the team and its loyal fans want them to be. The Islanders will skate out tonight lead by returning veterans Brendan Witt and Mark Streit and will be joined by several pieces of the organization’s future in John Tavares and Calvin de Haan.
The Islanders received goals from Josh Bailey and Andy Sutton last night as they played to a 4-2 defeat against the Los Angeles Kings. Nathan Lawson started his second preseason game for the Islanders making 21 saves on 25 shots in the loss. The Kings’ goal scorers were Teddy Purcell, Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds who had two tallies including a shorthanded goal in the second period. The Islanders are now 2-3-1 in the preseason while the Kings improved to 3-1-1.
New Jersey has only played one preseason game as opposed to the six that the Islanders have already played, mostly in Western Canada. The Devils took on the New York Rangers on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Prudential Center. After going up 2-0 on David Clarkson’s first and second tallies of the season through the first 40 minutes of play, the Rangers stormed back in the third. Matt Gilroy broke former Islander Yann Danis’ shutout bid 3:31 into the period while on the power-play and Jordan Owens would tie the game at two about seven minutes later. The contest would go to overtime and an eventual shootout where Devils’ forwards Zach Parise and Travis Zajac scored to give New Jersey a 3-2 victory.
Crossing the River: Two former Islanders from last season found their way to New Jersey this offseason. Yann Danis, one of the staples in goal for the Islanders last season was signed by the Devils to most likely backup Martin Brodeur. Center-man Ben Walter was traded over the summer from the Islanders to the Devils in exchange for Tony Romano.
Double Duty: Several Players who were on the flight back from Kansas City last night (or should I say this morning) will dress for the Islanders tonight. Josh Bailey, Jeff Tambellini, Dustin Kohn and Micheal Haley got back to the hotel early this morning and will most likely take the hours counting up to face-off to rest.
First Rounders: Tonight will mark the first time that both of the Islanders two first round draft choices from this summer, John Tavares and Calvin de Haan play at the Nassau Coliseum. The two were former teammates with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL last season before Tavares was traded to the London Knights mid-way through the year.
Big Shoes to Fill: The Devils lost two key players that were a big part of the organization’s 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup Championship teams. Brian Gionta who was a mainstay on New Jersey’s top-line combination, signed with the Montreal Canadiens back in July. Checking line center, John Madden who was counted on through his 10 years with the Devils to win big face-offs and shut down an opposing team’s top players signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.