Isles Host Panthers In April Fool’s Matchup

The New York Islanders are set to play host to the visiting Florida Panthers tonight at Nassau Coliseum. It will be a matchup of bottom feeding teams. Florida is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the Isles are not far off.

A lot of fans might see this game as one of “The Greatest Tank Battles,” but the Islanders are not just playing out the string. They have points in their last four games, going 3-0-1 in that stretch. The one game the Isles didn’t win was a 13 round shootout loss to the probably playoff bound Tampa Bay Lightning.

It is kind of a different story for Florida. The Panthers, who are suffering a rash of injuries, are in a nose dive. Florida is 3-6-1 in their last ten and are losers of three straight, including a 6-3 pounding at the hands of the New Jersey Devils last night.

Florida will likely be without star goalie Roberto Luongo as well as reigning Calder Cup trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau, who is out with a concussion. (Photo credit: flickr/bridgetds)

Netminder Dan Ellis was on the receiving end of last night’s torching of the Panthers, so expect to see journeyman Scott Clemmensen in goal tonight.

For the Islanders, look for New York to counter with veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov will look for a win following the 13 round shootout loss in his last outing.

The Islanders will also be trotting out a ton of rookies again tonight. There will be at least nine in the lineup and ten if Kyle Okposo cannot go. (Photo credit: flickr/clydeorama)

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as a lot of these guys are up and coming guys. Players with skill who can skate. These guys are happy to be getting a chance in the National Hockey League and are working hard to show they belong.

If the Islanders can avoid mistakes in their own end and stay out of the penalty box, they will have every chance to win this game.

Even still, don’t count out the Panthers. They just got drilled by the Devils. NHLers are competitive guys. If nothing else, pride will give them a fighting chance tonight on Long Island.

 

-Donovan Brooks

 

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