24 March 2011
The New York Islanders return home tonight to take on the Atlanta Thrashers at the Nassau Coliseum. The Isles downed former teammate, Dwayne Roloson, and the Tampa Lightning 5-2 as they won back to back games in the sunshine state since 2001.
The Thrashers come into the game off an 8-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena Saturday night. The Thrashers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and slowly seeing their chances of making the playoff slip away.
The last matchup between these two teams was back on February 1 when they defeated Atlanta 4-1. The previous two matchups were Thrasher wins, an overtime winner in Atlanta back on November 21 and a memorable night back on December 11 when thousands of Quebec Nordiques fans came down in protest for a team. The Thrashes wound up coming back and winning 5-4 at the Nassau Coliseum.
For the Islanders it will be Al Montoya in net against Atlanta tonight. The 26 year old net minder is 8-3-4 since joining the Islanders on February 11. He is tied with Rick Dipietro for the team lead in wins with 8 and has a .922 save percentage.
Montoya has been huge for the Islanders since arriving on Long Island, including making a huge save against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “It’s big when you have a guy that gives you a chance to win,” PA Parenteau said of Al Montoya. “We have a lot of confidence in him right now. He’s playing solid hockey, he’s in the zone. It’s big for the team and big for the last stretch of the year. “
For the Thrashers Chris mason will get the nod in net for tonight’s game. Last game Ondrej Pavelec started, but was pulled after one period and replaced by Chris Mason. Pavelec. Chris Mason is 10-10-3 with an .892 save percentage.
Morning Skate video
Seeing Old Friends
The Islanders players enter a unique situation facing former teammates in back to games; Dwayne Roloson in Tampa and now Rob Schremp with Atlanta Thrasher.
The former Islander waiver claim was, ironically, claimed by the Thrashers after the Islanders placed the struggling forward on waivers. Since joining the Thrashers Schremp has one goal in nine games with the Thrashers and will start at the center position against the Islanders tonight.
While Schremp has no grudge against the team that waived him, he is excited to get to prove to them what he can do.
“It should be fun,” Schremp told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Wednesday. “I was just there a month ago. There will be a lot of energy going into the game. They had my rights and they put me on waivers. It’s a chance to go back and play against them and prove what I can do at the NHL level.
For the Islanders they too were looking forward to this matchup and had nothing but good things to say about their former teammate.
“It’s a little bit weird seeing him on the other side of the hallway, but it’s going to be fun tonight,” Kyle Okposo said after the morning skate. “We know how his game is; he’s obviously a very skilled player. So we’re excited to get the opportunity to play against him.”
“It’s always a little tougher, you have friends on the other side,” PA Parenteau added this morning. “But when the puck drops there are no friends anymore and you want to do your best. I’m sure he’ll do well tonight. He’s a good hockey player, he has a lot of skills and I wish him the best.”
Islanders head coach jack Capuano also acknowledged Schremp’s skill and usefulness in game situations.
“Robbie is a tremendously skilled player,” Capuano started off saying. He’s going to give you that power play strength when you need him. The only thing in my discussions with Robbie here was just continue to get to the paint and get to those gritty areas and try not to stay on the perimeter so much. Robbie is a great teammate, he’s a good friend and we wish him the best and he’s defiantly got some good offensive instincts for sure.”
Mark Streit Shut Down for the Rest of the Season
The islanders announced today that they were officially shutting down injured defensemen Mark Streit for the season. Streit has made strides to making a comeback, but doctors could not clear the Swedish defenseman to return to play.
He had also mentioned that he wanted to make an attempt at playing in the Worlds, but that also looks to be in serious jeopardy.
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