De Haan Returns for Islanders in Matchup Against Panthers

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UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 01: Casey Cizikas #53 of the New York Islanders is hit into Scott Clemmensen #30 of the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 1, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Florida Panthers (38-21-9) @ New York Islanders (37-21-8) : 

When: Monday, March 14th, 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)
Radio: WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM and WRCN 103.9 FM (Chris King, Greg Picker)

The Islanders hope the return of defenseman Calvin de Haan will be enough to get the team out of a mini 0-1-1 slide it finds itself in heading into tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers at the Barclays Center. The young defenseman, who was initially injured during the Isles’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings on Feb. 15 and then suffered a similar injury in a 4-3 overtime win in Winnipeg earlier this month, is set to return to the Isles lineup tonight.

He’ll be defending a motivated Panthers offense that has an opportunity to regain first place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers offense has scored 15 goals in their last three games to the tune of a 2-0-1 record. The Cats are 3-6-2 in their last 11 games on the road. A strong home Islanders club will try to monopolize on a Florida team that is faltering away from their home arena.

The Panthers won their first visit to Brooklyn, 5-1, on December 15th and are trying to complete a season sweep of the Isles. Aleksander Barkhov had one goal and two assists in the last meeting for Florida.  Overall, Florida has owned the Isles recently, going 6-1-1 in their last eight games.

The Islanders tightened their hold on third place in the Metropolitan Division with a recent 7-1-1 run, but this 0-1-1 stretch has occurred immediately after a lower body injury to starting goalie Jaroslav Halak. Backup Thomas Greiss has played well so far this season, but if the team cannot secure regulation victories while Halak is on the shelf, concerns will continue to mount.

The Islanders are currently three points back of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with three games in hand. They are also holding a two-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins and also have two games in hand on the Penguins.

The Panthers won an exciting 5-4 shootout over the Flyers on Saturday. Reilly Smith had two goals and Jaromir Jagr had two assists in the winning effort. Goalie Roberto Luongo, who made 22 saves, was quoted on the team website after the game,”Our guys did a great job there on the PK in overtime. Lot of huge blocked shots, guys sacrificing their bodies like that. We haven’t seen much of that this year, but it was great to see in a time like that guys laying out and making some huge blocks.”

The game is the first of four for the Islanders against tough playoff caliber opponents this week. The Islanders will try to get things off to a fast start tonight.

Players to Watch:

Islanders: Calvin de Haan – The Florida Panthers offense is hot and Calvin de Haan is being reinserted back into the lineup. Many will be pleased to know this means Brian Strait is out. Let’s see if the shakeup is enough to produce Thomas Greiss’s first regulation win since Jaroslav Halak went down.

Panthers: Jaromir Jagr – Jagr leads the Panthers with 53 points (23G, 30A) in 65 games this season and has five points (2G, 3A) in his last three games. He was 28-49-77 in 52 games at Coliseum.

Game Notes:

Halak Injury: Jaroslav Halak will miss at least six weeks with a lower body injury suffered on March 8 vs. Pittsburgh. New York will turn to Thomas Greiss and JF Berube between the pipes. Greiss is 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts. Prior to the injury, Greiss had started 29-of-64 Islanders games (45%).

Home Security: The Islanders have not lost a game at home in regulation since the NHL All-Star Break, posting a 5-0-1 record. New York has outscored opponents 26-11 over that six-game span.

Streaking: Nick Leddy’s four-game point streak (1G, 6A) and a three-game multi-point streak (1G, 5A) ended in Boston on Saturday. Leddy has 18 points (2G, 16A) in his last 19 games.

Hot Hands: Anders Lee has five points (3G, 2A) in his last six games. Casey Cizikas (3G, 7A) has 10 points in his last 14 games. Kyle Okposo has 17 points (5G, 12A) in his last 18 games. John Tavares has 23 points (11G, 12A) in his last 18 games, including six mutli-point games.

Chasing 200: Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves to earn his 200th NHL win on March 8 vs. Pittsburgh.Head coach Jack Capuano recorded his 200th NHL career win on March 3 at Winnipeg. John Tavares scored his 200th NHL goal on March 12 at Boston.

Shootout Thriller: Frans Nielsen recorded his 42nd career shootout goal on Feb. 9 in Columbus, breaking a tie with Radim Vrbata for the all-time NHL lead.

Killin’ It: The Islanders currently boast the NHL’s third-best penalty kill unit. They have killed 113-of-128 penalties over their last 44 games. That stretch included a franchise record 15 straight games without allowing a power-play goal; New York went a perfect 42-for-42.

Heavy Hitters: Matt Martin leads the NHL in hits with 315. Linemate Cal Clutterbuck is just behind him with 238. Martin has led the NHL in this category each of the last four seasons, while Clutterbuck led the league the three season prior to that (2008-09 -2010-11). The Islanders as a team currently lead the NHL in hits with 1,924.

Five Guys: The Islanders are 12-0-0 in games when they score five or more goals.

NHL Debut: Former first-round pick Ryan Pulock made his NHL debut on Feb. 8 in Edmonton. Prior to playing with the Islanders, the Dauphin, Manitoba native was named to two straight AHL All-Star games in 2015 and 2016 (missed both due to injury). Pulock was named to the 2014-15 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Division Dominance: This season, New York is 13-5-3 against division foes. Last season, the Islanders finished 21-6-3 against the Metropolitan Division.

Overtime: Last season the Islanders went 14-7 in overtime (6-1 OT, 7-6 SO). The Islanders are currently 7-8 in overtimes this season (3-4 OT, 4-4 SO).

Under Capuano: Jack Capuano began the season as the NHL’s fourth-longest tenured coach with his current team. The Islanders are 202-169-54 under Capuano. He ranks second on the Islanders all-time list in both games coached (425) and wins (202), behind Al Arbour (1,500 coached, 740 wins).

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