Hockey Mom has a previous engagement this evening and won't be blogging during the game but let's take a peek at tonight's opponent, the New York Islanders. The Isles have certainly been in the news the past two days, not because of their play but due to the crude gesture James Wisniewski made towards Ranger's antagonist extraordinaire Sean Avery. Of course my boys thought the gesture was hilarious - but that goes without saying as they're almost 15-years old. Word of warning: If I ever see something like that on the ice from you two, you won't have to worry about Gary Bettman. I can assure you the wrath of HM is punishment enough! After suspending Avery himself for his deragatory comments towards Dion Phaneuf and Avery's former girlfriend last season, the league sent a message and suspended Wisniewski for two games. (Unrelated: Niklas Hjalmarsson of Chicago was also suspended yesterday - he'll sit out two games for his nasty from behind hit on Buffalo's Jason Pominville).
The Islanders are a gritty bunch of lunch-pail hockey players and always give the Caps a hard-fought battle. But they've been bitten hard by the injury bug of late and will be without the contributions of several key players: Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and top defenseman Mark Streit. Tomas Fleischmann will get to see his old pal and former Capital Milan Jurcina wearing an Isles sweater for the first time this season in Verizon Center. On the Capital's bench, Tom Poti, Matt Bradley and youngster Marcus Johansson are all battling various injuries.
Despite being without Tavares, Streit and Okposo, the Islanders still won a high-scoring Columbus Day contest against their rivals from down the road. Blake Comeau has really stepped up and was responsible for two of the six goals against the Blueshirts on Monday. The Isles also saw goals from PA Parenteau, Josh Bailey, Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen with the empty netter. In addition to getting a lovely snow shower from who else but Sean Avery, a finally healthy Rick DiPietro stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced.
I would expect that the boys from Lawng Island won't go down without a fight but still predict a win for the men in red in front of their home crowd.