Isles Return Home to Face Red Hot Sharks

The New York Islanders, having completed a four game road trip, return home to Nassau County to play host to the visiting San Jose Sharks Friday night.

Or should we say, the Sound Tigers?

Plagued by injuries, and shorthanded by recent trades, the Isles will field a lineup consisting of many who started the season in Connecticut. This is even truer in light of Michael Grabner’s concussion. There is no time table for Grabner’s return, and in truth, it’s not likely he will play again this season. Therefore on Thursday, the Islanders recalled Johan Sundstrom from Bridgeport.

Sundstrom will join teammates Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Mike Halmo, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, and Anders Nilsson, all of whom have played in Bridgeport this season.

Also up on the big squad is newly signed college standout Kevin Czuczman. Because he was just signed, and the Isles’ blueline is relatively healthy, don’t expect him to hit the ice against the veteran Sharks.

San Jose comes to town playing red hot having won their last four games. San Jose is always a tough opponent, and this season is no exception. The Sharks boast depth up front and on the blue line. In fact, the Sharks are so deep on defense that they moved defenseman Brent Burns to right wing. (Photo credit: CaGuard/flikr)

The Sharks also have a good pair of goalies with Anttii Niemi as the number one goaltender and Alex Stalock as the backup netminder.

Stalock started and earned the shootout victory in San Jose’s Thursday night win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Consequently, expect Niemi between the pipes for the guys in black and teal. Niemi has started 52 of San Jose’s games earning 35 wins in the process.

The first thing New York needs to do to earn a W tonight is play sound defensive hockey. The Isles have been pretty bad in their own end this season. If that’s the case tonight, it may very well be a long night.

Another key for New York will be the youngsters. If they can take advantage of their young legs, work hard, and keep pressure on the Sharks, that will take some of the pressure off of the defense.

Lastly, the Isles will need a strong performance in net. After three days off, expect Coach Jack Capuano to go with veteran, and former Shark, Evgeni Nabokov. (Photo credit: clydeorama/flikr)

If New York can bring it all together, then victory is possible, even against such a tough opponent.

-Donovan Brooks

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