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Nelson, Donovan to play season opener
A few notes off the Friday morning skate here in Newark:
-- Jack Capuano will go with the four lines and top six defensemen from the last week of training camp, meaning Eric Boulton is out among the forwards and Matt Carkner and rookie Griffin Reinhart will sit among the defensemen. Matt Donovan will make his first Isles appearance since 2011-12, and Brock Nelson makes his regular-season debut.
“We want them to play with confidence,” Capuano said of the two rookies who will play tonight against the Devils. “We know they’ll make mistakes, it’s a game of mistakes. But we don’t want them to play it safe.”
Nelson will start on the left side with Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, while Donovan will pair with Brian Strait.
-- Evgeni Nabokov gets the start in goal, with Capuano not revealing his plan for Saturday’s home opener against the Blue Jackets. Nabokov played 41 of the 48 regular-season games last season, though only two back-to-backs. With the Isles' next game on Tuesday, Capuano may be leaning toward giving Nabokov both games to see how he holds up. Plenty depends on what happens on Friday night.
-- Cal Clutterbuck (leg) was on the ice again on Friday for the Isles’ optional skate and he’s pleased with how quickly he’s gotten back on the ice following a deep skate laceration suffered on Sept. 17. But he knows as a first-year Islander, this is a tough time to miss anything.
“You know you’re a little behind as far as systems go, learning things,” Clutterbuck said. “It’s good to get back on the ice, skate with the guys and compete a little. We’ll see how fast it goes.”
-- Marty Brodeur gets the start for the Devils, his 88th appearance all-time against the Islanders.