Hope everyone had a wonderful holidays! Besides the fact I may have returned 5 lbs heavier after stuffing my face with my mom's Christmass toffee for three straight days, I had a great trip back home to Michigan for a long-overdue visit to see my family.
Hope the holidays were just as happy for all of you:)
Now, down to business.
Tim Jackman returns to the Islanders lineup for the first time since suffering a hip pointer injury December 8 in Philadelphia
"It's great [ to be back]," Jackman said. "It's no fun sitting out. Hopefully I can bring some size, energy and consistent play and we can put some wins together."
Dwayne Roloson is in net, his fourth start in as many games against the Rangers this year.
Jeff Tambellini and defenseman Freddy Meyer appear to be the healthy scratches once again.
Scott Gordon stressed after Wednesday's win against Toronto the importance of making up ground when playing teams that are also vying for a playoff spot in the jam-packed Eastern Conference.
Tonight will provide the Islanders with a good chance to do that agains their division rivals, the New York Rangers, who have strung together a four-game winning streak.
Gordon said they'll try to replicate their last game at the Garden, when they dominated the reeling Rangers from the beginning and earned one of their most well-rounded, decisive efforts this season.
"They were coming off a big game against Atlanta," Gordon said, "and we did a good job coming out in the first period and not allowing them to feed off that."
Defenseman Mark Streit said the first ten minutes will again be crucial to the Islanders success.
"When you play here, the first 10 or 15 minutes are really important," Streit said, "We want to come out playing hard and aggressive. We want to dictate the game, we can't wait for things to happen."
Streit also said it will be important to get traffic in front of the net and impede Henrik Lundqvist's ability to see the puck.
Lundqvist, who made 35 saves in the second game of the home-and-home set against the Islanders, essentially won the game for the Rangers in their last visit to Nassau Coliseum.
"No question he was the best guy on the ice for them," Gordon said. "And he's been on a roll ever since."
Nate Thompson, who got sliced in the face by Mike Komisarek's skate Wednesday night, is looking pretty good despite narrowly avoiding an ugly injury. Thompson said he had some glue administered over his left eye during the game and is good to go for tonight.