GAMETIME: 6pm Central
TV/RADIO: WGN for both
Step Into The Light: Lighthouse Hockey
You might think by looking at the Isles' putrid record that the Hawks can puke up another half-assed (if even that assed) effort that they did on Friday and come up with two points. But unlike the Senators who came in in a daze and somewhere around quitting on their coach, the Islanders are one of the NHL's hottest teams. It's true. I wouldn't lie to you. I like you too much. I even looked it up. Research! Long Island have won eight of their last 11, and even managed to pull one over the Avalanche yesterday afternoon, something that seems like half a miracle around these parts.
Even more astonishing is that they've done this with almost half their lineup out. Let's see if I can do this off the top of my head; Kyle Okposo, Mark Streit, Radek Maritnek, Mark Eaton, Trent Hunter....nope, gotta look up the rest... Mike Mottau, Frans Nielsen, and just to remind us that water seeks its own level, once again Rick Dipie-injured are all out tonight. This is Bridgeport running around in the orange and blue that sets McClure so alight (really, he loves these Isle jerseys). Half the lineup will have you screaming "Who?"
One guy you will know is John Tavares. He's really coming into his own lately. Any of you who saw him donkey punch Kevin Shattenkirk in the corner before arrogantly flipping one past Craig Anderson yesterday to win in OT will know. Considering how bullish he's become below the dots, if Duncan Keith Brown is going to show up tonight then there really could be some problems.
The Hawks should be getting a look at Nathan Lawson in the cage, he of the two NHL appearances. Kevin Poulin made his first NHL start yesterday and got the win after battling back from giving up two in the first two minutes. The real problem tonight could be the exuberance the Isles play with at the moment. Whether it's auditioning for a job in the future, just loving being in the NHL for the time being, or just being young, the Isles are really skating hard these days. We know they'll show up, with a date with the Stanley Cup champs having been circled on their calendar for a while.
That said, if the Hawks want to they should win rather easily. This is an Islanders team that played yesterday at altitude, and still is a collection of who's-that's, has-been's, never-will-be's, and assorted collection of knick knacks. The Isle like to push the pace too, I doubt we see much of a clogging of the neutral zone unless they get a lead. Which they really shouldn't. But the Hawks have become the masters in cocking up easy tasks, I can't tell you why tonight should be any different other than misplaced logic and hope.
Just give us an easy one for once tonight, assholes.