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After opening their 2013-14 season tonight at home with a 4-3 loss against the Calgary Flames, the Blue Jackets head off to Uniondale, NY to take on the New York Islanders for a Saturday night game. Both teams are playing the second game of back-to-back nights to kick off the regular season, with the Islanders coming off a 4-3 shootout win in New Jersey, and both teams will dress largely the same roster as the night before.
David Savard will once again take over the last defensive spot with Nikita Nikitin after a strong performance on the penalty kill against the Flames. Nikitin's usual defense partner, Dalton Prout, moves into the injured Fedor Tyutin's spot with Jack Johnson. After being out with an upper-body injury for several days, Jared Boll will make the trip to Uniondale, but will be a game time decision whether he'll be on the roster.
For the Islanders, they'll have a healthy roster with the exception of Cal Clutterbuck, who is out with a leg laceration. Expect captain John Tavares, defenseman Andy MacDonald and Lubomir Visnovsky to log a lot of minutes for the Islanders in their home opener tonight against the Blue Jackets.
The winner of this game will be the team that responds best to the fatigue as a result of travel and playing a game the night before. Both teams are being thrown right into the regular season, wasting no time getting two games out of the way quickly. They're also each looking to improve upon their results from last season, and come out of the offseason with a winning record for opening weekend.
The Islanders will have their first home game of the season, and they're coming off a big win in New Jersey, so emotions will be running high for them. On the other hand, the Blue Jackets are coming off a tough home loss to the Flames and are looking to avenge that loss in Uniondale. In his post-game interview, Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards said that the pace was a wake-up call to his players, and that they'll have to be better if they want to rebound from their opening night defeat.
This game is sure to be filled with emotion from both teams, it's just a matter of which team keeps its emotions in check and channels them into a positive result, which would be two points.
at BUFFALO SABRES
THURSDAY, 7 P.M.
FIRST NIAGARA CENTER