By Amanda DiPaolo
New York 5-17-5
The Predators will try to improve their home record to 7-1-5 when they host the New York Islanders on Monday night. Nashville is also looking for their fourth home win in a row. New York are losers of five straight. The Predators have found success against the Islanders in the past posting a 8-3-2 record against New York. Since the 2002-03 season, the Predators have gone 5-0-2 against the Islanders. Last year in New York, Nashville fell 4-3 in a shootout.
Nashville continues to play well against the Eastern Conference going 5-1-4 when playing teams outside the West. Monday night’s game marks the fourth time in the last five games that the Predators play an Eastern Conference team.
While it is entirely possible that Mark Dekanich might get his first career NHL start in goal for the Predators, Anders Lindback is on a roll and may get his fifth consecutive start in net. Lindback has a 6-1-2 record this season and is 3-0-1 with a 1.74 GAA and a .944 save percentage since starting goaltender Pekka Rinne injured his knee in Columbus at the end of November. Lindback is coming off a 3-0 win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. It was the 6’6 Swedish native’s first NHL shutout.
While goaltending has been the story of the season for Nashville, the injury list for the Islanders has truly crippled their season. Four of their top six defensemen are out of the lineup. Mark Streit is expected to miss the entire season after having left shoulder surgery at the end of September. Milan Jurcina has a hamstring injury and has been on injured reserve since the end of October. Mike Mottau has been out of the lineup since the end of November with a right eye injury. Radek Martinek missed Saturday’s game against Atlanta with an arm injury. His status for Monday night is not yet known.
The Islanders forwards haven’t fared much better than the defense. Kyle Okposo has been out of the lineup since the end of September and was expected to miss up to three months. Still on injured reserve, Okposo could make his way back into the lineup after a right shoulder injury by the end of the year. Doug Weight is out indefinitely with back spasms. Trent Hunter has been out of the lineup since the end of November with a torn left MCL.
The Islanders lineup also features the walking wounded. Another defenseman is playing while injured. Bruno Gervais played Saturday against Atlanta but has a broken left cheekbone.
While the Predators have battled their share of injuries this season and continue to do so with two of their top four centermen out of the lineup (Matthew Lombardi and David Legwand) as well as starting goaltender Pekka Rinne, Nashville has found ways to collect points. The Islanders have been less fortunate having gone 0-9-2 in its last 11 games on the road.
If the Predators win on Monday night, it will extend their point streak to eight games. Also look for Sergei Kostitsyn to get on the score sheet. Kostitsyn is riding a five-game point streak with 1 goal and 5 assists going into Monday’s contest.
Game time is 7pm at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets are still available for Monday night’s game.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. Upcoming games include tonight’s game against the Islanders, Wednesday when the San Jose Sharks make their first visit to Smashville this year and Saturday when the Kings come to town.