NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, October 18th
(All times eastern)
New York Islanders (2-2-0) at Florida Panthers (1-2-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders will try to win their second
straight road test tonight, as they visit BankAtlantic Center and the Florida
Panthers, a club that has beaten them in each of the last five meetings.
The Islanders struggled a bit as the road team last year, going 17-20-4 as the
visitor. They lost their first road contest this season, a season-opening 2-1
setback to the Devils on October 10, but posted a 4-3 overtime win against the
Lightning on Thursday after splitting their previous two at home.
Trent Hunter scored twice in the win, including the game-winning marker 51
seconds into overtime. Doug Weight also lit the lamp and Mike Comrie
registered a goal and an assist, while Frans Nielsen notched two assists.
With No. 1 netminder Rick DiPietro still on the bench, likely because of
season-ending hip surgery from last season, Joey MacDonald made his fourth
straight start, halting 33-of-36 shots in the win, the fifth of his career.
MacDonald has posted a 3.50 goals against average in subbing for DiPietro, who
could make his season debut tonight. Assuming he is healthy, DiPietro could
play tonight and then have four days to rest before New York's next test, a
Thursday meeting at home with Dallas.
One player who won't be on the ice tonight is defenseman Radek Martinek, who
has missed two straight games due to an upper body injury that will reportedly
sideline him for four-to-six weeks.
Florida, which won all four games against the Islanders last year and five in
a row overall against the club, concludes a three-game homestand tonight,
having split the first two tests. The Panthers defeated Atlanta in overtime
last Saturday before dropping a 6-2 contest against Minnesota on Thursday.
Nick Boynton and Karlis Skrastins each found the back of the net for the
Panthers, who have lost two of their first three games. Tomas Vokoun lasted
only the first two periods, allowing four goals on 22 shots. Craig Anderson
allowed two goals on 12 shots in the third period.
Vokoun has struggled early, allowing 11 goals while posting a 4.04 GAA through
the season's first three games. He has shined against New York in his career,
going 7-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA in nine career starts against the Islanders.
The Panthers have won three in a row at home versus the Islanders.
10/18 10:46:26 ET