Season Opener! Panthers at Islanders

In an off season that saw the Islanders very active in areas all across the spectrum, it’s finally behind us and we are ready to drop the puck.

While the team may not have drawn in big name marquee free agents, they signed Marty Reasoner, extended veterans Jay Pandolfo and Steve Staios tryout contracts and were each ultimately signed to one year contracts. The Islanders also extended John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner this off season. They also traded Trent Hunter to New Jersey for Brian Rolston earlier this summer.

The roster for tonight, should look something like this:

Forwards: Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Jay Pandolfo, PA Parenteau, Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston, and John Tavares

Defensemen: Mark Eaton, Travis Hamonic, Milan Jurcina, Andrew MacDonald, Mike Mottau, Steve Staios and Mark Streit

Goaltenders: Al Montoya and Rick DiPietro

The scratches for tonight: Evgeni Nabokov, Ryan Strome, and Milan Jurcina.

With the Florida Panthers visiting Long Island, there are some interesting stories. The Panthers had a very active off season. Our old friend Sean Bergenheim was signed as a free agent, Ed Jovanovski, Upshall and Campbell were all also acquired or signed.

Their lineup tonight:

Forwards: Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg, Booth-Kopecky-Upshall, Bergenheim-Goc-Skille, Matthias-Carter-Bradley

Defensemen: Jovanovski-Gudbranson, Garrison-Campbell, Weaver-Kulikov

Goaltenders: Theodore, Markstrom

Expected Scratches: Dadonov, Ellerby

The Florida Panthers team the Islanders are facing tonight is a far cry from the team they faced last season. They’ve added speed, toughness and some scoring punch – so it should be a good matchup. Last season, the Islanders faced the Panthers four times and tied the season series with 2 wins and 2 losses.

The Islanders have added experience in veterans Marty Reasoner, Steve Staios and Jay Pandolfo – whom without a doubt, will be feeling much younger playing with the Isles young squad.

It’s going to be a great game, I know I’m glad hockey is back in action!

Michael Schuerlein

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