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Islanders return home to host Flames

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 6:37 PM

John Kreiser - Columnist

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Islanders return home to host Flames
Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders

FLAMES (21-28-7) at ISLANDERS (22-28-8)


Last 10: Calgary 5-4-1; New York 4-5-1

Season series: The New York Islanders and Calgary Flames play for the first time since Dec. 29, 2011, when the Islanders won 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum. The Flames host New York on March 7.

Big story: The teams have nearly identical records and only a slight chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their respective conferences. This is the second of a three-game trip for the Flames, while the Islanders begin a five-game homestand that surrounds the Olympic break.

Team Scope:

Flames: He didn't get the win Tuesday night, but Reto Berra's performance in a 2-0 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens will get him the start on Long Island.

"I felt he was confident, he was square," coach Bob Hartley told the media Wednesday. "He gave us a chance to win. When you don't score goals, it's tough to even think about the goalie. It wouldn't be fair to pull him. He gave up one goal; we didn't give him any. He fully deserves to get the start on Long Island."

Berra allowed one goal on 26 shots before Montreal hit the empty net after Hartley pulled him for an extra attacker, ending the Flames' five-game winning streak. All five wins came at home.

"I think that structurally we were very good," Hartley said of his team's play against the Canadiens. "We didn't give up much, but we didn't have enough zip in our game."

Hartley said small but speedy forward Paul Byron will dress. He hasn't played since Jan. 24.

Islanders: New York has scored one goal in each of its past three games. But the Islanders are coming off a slump-breaking 1-0 road victory against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night because they turned in perhaps their best defensive performance of the season. The Islanders limited Washington to 22 shots and went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

The penalty-killers, last in the NHL for most of the season, have killed off 14 in a row.

"Obviously your goaltender is your best penalty-killer," coach Jack Capuano said after practice Wednesday. "But we've been doing a much better job winning some faceoffs, getting the puck 200 feet and getting line changes."

The Islanders' top line of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Thomas Vanek has hit a cold stretch after tearing up the NHL for a five-week period. Tavares is tied for second in the NHL in scoring, but he hasn't had a point in his past four games.

Who's hot: Flames forward Mikael Backlund was held off the scoresheet Tuesday after four consecutive multiple-point games. … Okposo has three goals and six points in New York's past five games.

Injury report: The Flames are without goalie Karri Ramo (knee) and forward Curtis Glencross (ankle), neither of whom is expected to return before the Olympic break. … Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (concussion) is on injured reserve.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 07 '14 NYI 3 at CGY 4 J. Colborne
Feb 06 '14 CGY 4 at NYI 2 D. Jones
J. Hudler57142943+11621
M. Backlund56141529-62043
M. Giordano3991928+43661
S. Monahan5016824-9421
L. Stempniak5081523-212800
M. Stajan4991322-154002
M. Cammalleri4013821-212033
K. Russell4341620+0621
D. Wideman4141620-151620
T. Brodie5741519-101612
D. Jones449817+21021
J. Colborne5541014-132600
C. Glencross216612-3612
L. Bouma535611-33300
T. Galiardi422911-91700
S. Baertschi262911-4610
C. Butler572810-172901
P. Byron272810+0600
L. Smid56134-146400
B. McGrattan53123-29300
S. O'Brien45033-85800
B. Jones14202+02100
K. Westgarth29112-53600
L. MacDermid7022+11200
C. Billins2022-1000
T. Jackman10101-14100
D. Smith14011-10200
B. Street13011-2400
C. Breen6000-3500
M. Reinhart4000+1200
R. Horak1000+0000
K. Ramo2911-10-4697462.66.908
R. Berra268-15-2757163.06.895
J. MacDonald73-3-1221923.17.885
J. Tavares58234265-44074
K. Okposo58243458-44343
T. Vanek56192948+23452
F. Nielsen59182543-11840
A. MacDonald5942024-123422
M. Grabner5591120-61001
J. Bailey5451520-81001
B. Nelson4910919-4621
T. Hickey5941216+62200
C. Cizikas575712-102200
C. Clutterbuck537411-93200
C. de Haan332810-101601
M. Moulson11639+3650
C. McDonald47459-182600
P. Bouchard28459-91211
T. Hamonic47189-32400
M. Martin59448-97400
B. Strait36358-71000
P. Regin44257-101800
M. Donovan36167-81010
E. Boulton18224+15700
R. Strome15134-1210
A. Ness20123-131000
L. Visnovsky13123-1610
M. Carkner38033-99500
R. Martinek13033+4400
K. Poulin2811-16-1898203.29.891
E. Nabokov2910-11-5737992.73.909
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