Saturday, January 19, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Flyers at Isles

The Islanders are back home for an Atlantic Division tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the first time the Flyers have visited the Coliseum this season. Here are some notes from the morning skate.

- Defensemen Chris Campoli, Radek Martinek and Brendan Witt are indeed all out for tonight’s game. Both Martinek and Witt took the full skate and looked pretty good to the naked eye, but Islanders head coach Ted Nolan told the media that Marti is about a week away and that Witt could possibly play on Monday.


- With that news, Aaron Johnson returns to the lineup and at his natural defenseman position. In his five games earlier this season, Johnson mostly skated as a fourth-line forward. Johny said the coaches told him he’ll be eased back into the lineup, but is excited to finally get back into an NHL game.


- In the uber-tight Atlantic Division where the top and bottom teams are only separated by six points, the Islanders enter tonight’s contest only two points behind the third-place Flyers. The Islanders are only four points out of the Atlantic Division lead.


- The probably match-up in goal tonight is Rick DiPietro versus Martin Biron.


- The Islanders third-best penalty kill will get a good test tonight if the need arises against the Flyers who own the NHL’s top power play unit. They click at a 24.4 percent rate.


- Before the game, Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim and Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki will partake in the photo-op with the youth Finnish hockey team from Ilves, Finland, who is participating in the International Division of the Lighthouse Tournament.

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