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Flames vs. Islanders Preview

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The Flames host the Islanders on Joe Nieuwendyk night, as Brian Burke continues to remain oblivious to the fact that Joe just isn't that into him.

Adam Hunger

New York Islanders (24-32-9, 14th in Eastern Conference)

The New York Islanders, one of the busiest teams on Wednesday's trade deadline, will be in Calgary to take on the Flames tonight. The Isles lost 3-2 in overtime to the Oilers last night at Rexall, prompting some to call a state of emergency, stressing that fans must be kept away from the team.

The bizarre Thomas Vanek saga finally came to an end for the Islanders on Wednesday, as he was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second-round draft pick in this year's draft.

The Islanders acquired Vanek in exchange for a first-round pick back in October, and received a prospect and a conditional pick in return when he wouldn't re-sign with the team, choosing instead to opt for free agency. You can argue that at least the team got something for him, but other argue that the whole thing was a disaster that may cause some fans to finally turn their backs on the team.

Meanwhile, the Islanders fared much better in the deal that sent defenceman Andrew MacDonald to the Flyers on Wednesday. They acquired a third-round pick in this year's draft, a second-round pick in 2015, and 24-year-old centre Matt Mangene from Philadelphia.

Nonetheless, this year's deadline was the cherry on top of what has already been a futile season for Islanders fans. John Tavares will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered at the Olympics and the team has fallen to 14th place in the East, eight games below .500.

They do have an impressive record away from Long Island recently, however. The Islanders are 11-3-1 in their past 15 road games.

Players to Watch

  • 23-year-old Isles prospect Anders Lee is scoring at a point-per-game pace since being re-called by the team on February 24th. He scored two of his four goals against the Leafs on February 27th, however.
  • Defenceman Thomas Hickey, who is originally from Calgary, will play against his hometown team for the first time [Islanders Official Website].


Projected Lines

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Anders Lee - Ryan Strome - Colin McDonald

Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Mike Halmo

Calvin de Haan - Matt Donovan

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Brian Strait - Travis Hamonic

Evgeni Nabokov

Anders Nilsson

Scratches: John Tavares, Eric Boulton

Calgary Flames (24-31-7, 13th in Western Conference)

The Flames were also critiqued by some for not making as much of a splash as was expected on deadline day, though I expect many Flames fans breathed a sigh of relief that the core of young players and prospects this team has been cultivating all season remained intact. While Mike Cammalleri was not moved as many expected, Lee Stempniak and Reto Berra were.

After the deadline passed, the Flames defeated the visiting Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-1, with Markus Granlund netting his first career NHL goal and goalie Joni Ortio winning his first career NHL game.

The Flames beat the Islanders back on February sixth at Nassau Coliseum by a score of 4-2, with the injured David Jones scoring the game-winning goal.

The Flames have a record of 6-4-0 in their past ten games, stretching back to a streak before the Olympics in which they won five straight, but have since lost four of their past six games. However, the fact that Joe Nieuwendyk is being Forever a Flame'd tonight puts their fledgling winning streak in jeopardy--it has been well-documented that the Flames have a terrible record in games that begin with a ceremony of some kind. At least the good news is that they actually won wearing those horrible third jerseys on Wednesday!

Players to Watch

  • With Dennis Wideman to miss tonight's game and likely tomorrow's as well, defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon has been called up from the Abbotsford Heat.
  • Sean Monahan has been quite the scoring machine recently; the 19-year-old had two assists in Wednesday's win over the Senators and scored both goals in last Saturday's overtime victory in Edmonton.
  • The Flames' kid line of Max Reinhart, Markus Granlund and Paul Byron. With Jiri Hudler out tonight with an upper-body injury suffered in the third period of Wednesday's game, this line could get shuffled, but it will be interesting to watch nonetheless.


Projected Lines


Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne

Jiri Hudler TJ Galiardi - Sean Monahan - Lance Bouma

Max Reinhart - Markus Granlund - Paul Byron

Ben Hanowski - Corban Knight - Brian McGrattan


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Ladislav Smid - Kris Russell

Tyler Wotherspoon - Chris Butler



Joni Ortio

Joey MacDonald


Scratches: Matt Stajan (personal), Karri Ramo (knee), Curtis Glencross (ankle), David Jones, Kevin Westgarth (upper body), Dennis Wideman (upper body), Jiri Hudler (upper body).

For more on the Isles, don't forget to visit Lighthouse Hockey!

Game time is 9:00 p.m. eastern, 7 p.m. mountain time. See you all tonight!