Tonight, our Islanders begin a 2 game road trip to close off the 2013 calender year. The first of these two games take them to Minnesota to take on Mikko Koivu and the Wild.
The goalie match up tonight features Kevin Poulin getting his first start since December 12th for the Islanders. Meanwhile, Josh Harding will get the start in net for the Wild.
Tonight marks Cal Clutterbucks return to Minnesota after the summer trade that sent him here along with a third round pick in exchange for disgruntled forward Nino Niederreiter. Early reports indicate that Niederreiter will be on the Wild's top line tonight because their coaching staff is trying to spark him against his former team because he has been struggling recently.
The Islanders line up will once again look a bit different tonight as injuries and illness are playing a major role. John Tavares will return to the line up tonight after missing last nights game with a lower body injury. However, both Josh Bailey (upper body) and Michael Grabner (illness) will not be in the line up for the Islanders tonight. Removing them from the line up means that Peter Regin will remain in the line up and Eric Boulton will get to skate alongside Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin.
With Bailey and Grabner out, I hope they will move Strome into a top 6 role. However, I can very easily see them leaving him as the third line center which I think would be completely the wrong way to go because how is he supposed to be successful when he is playing with Peter Regin and Colin McDonald?
Also, be sure to check out the pregame show to see Butch Goring interview Garth Snow about the team.
#isles watch islander pre game tonight on MSGNetworks at 630 CST as I chat with GM Garth Snow about his team.
— Butch Goring (@91Butch) December 29, 2013