Vanek at the disco? Vanek on the streets of London? Terminator X to the edge of Vanek? (Ok these all suck). Point is Vanek is the topic of this game. The Islanders are sinking and have cobbled together a team from duct tape and the AHL and Vanek's (playoff) fortunes have improved since leaving Long Island and joining the Habs at the deadline. The Islanders have very little to show for both ends of the Vanek trade - the Habs 2014 2nd round pick (a late 2nd round pick by the looks of it) and prospect Sebastian Collberg. What the Islanders don't have is even more impressive - a decided lack of a playoff spot, no 2014 first round pick, and no Matt Moulson - a player who very much seemed like he wanted to be a part of the Islanders.
In any regard, the Islanders have the players they have and these last few games are a good way to evaluate what they have, particularly in a player like 20 year old Ryan Strome who has 3 points in his last five game and was just named to the AHL all-rookie team after producing 49 points in just 37 games with the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Minor injures keep befuddling the Canadiens just when it seems that they have a consistent line-up and set lines. Weise came back last night, but the Habs didn't dress Lars Eller (flu) and and Alex Galchenyuk played just two shifts before leaving the game. Spotted on crutches, Galchenyuk is doubtful for tonight. No word on Eller, so with the shortage of forwards, I would assume that Parros dresses for tonight. There is a bright spot with Brandon Prust resuming skating and a chance he may be available for the playoffs.
While there is a shortage of forwards, there's an abundance of D for the Habs with Josh Gorges returning from injury (and assisting on the game's first goal) last night and Douglas Murray returning from injury. It's hard to tell who will sit tonight and even harder to tell who will sit in the playoffs. The top five of Markov, Emelin, Gorges, Subban, and Weaver is set. Most fans seem to prefer one of Tinordi/Beaulieu over Bouillon/Murray, stats and recent performance seem to strengthen that preference. But fans don't run this team and Therrien will probably chose Bouillon/Murray over the kids.
Who's your choice as the sixth defenseman? Tinordi? Beaulieu? Bouillon? The other guy?
Interesting to note Vanek's PPG for the Islanders (.94) is the exact same as his PPG for the Habs. Hopefully it rises tonight with an assist on Pacioretty's 40th.
Tale of the tape
Puck drop is at 7:30 PM EST
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Thomas Vanek|
|Brian Gionta||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Rene Bourque||Danny Briere||Dale Weise|
|Michael Bournival||Ryan White||George Parros|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Josh Gorges||P.K. Subban|
|Douglas Murray||Mike Weaver|
Scratches: Nathan Beaulieu, Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi
Injuries: Brandon Prust (Upper body - out for the season, possibly available for playoffs), Travis Moen (Concussion), Alex Galchenyuk (Lower body, day to day), Lars Eller (Flu - day to day)
As for the Isles
|Anders Lee||Frans Nielsen||Josh Bailey|
|John Persson||Brock Nelson||Ryan Strome|
|Matt Martin||Casey Cizikas||Colin McDonald|
|Brett Gallant||Johan Sundstrom||Mike Halmo|
|Thomas Hickey||Travis Hamonic|
|Kevin Czuczman||Scott Mayfield|
|Matt Donovan||Matt Carkner|
Injuries: Eric Boulton (Bruised hand - day-to-day), Lubomir Visnovsky (Concussion - sidelined indefinitely),
John Tavares (Torn MCL in left knee - out for season), Kyle Okposo (Lower body - injury day-to-day), Michael Grabner (upper body injury day-to-day), Brian Strait (Broken left hand - sidelined indefinitely), Calvin De Haan (Leg injury - day-to-day), Cal Clutterbuck (Upper body - out for season)
Check out the opposing side at Lighthouse Hockey
This game will be carried on RDS and TSN-HABS in Canada and MSG PLUS 2 in the United States