More afternoon hockey for you (at least it's on the weekend, and not that 9:30 am bs that we will discuss later this week) as the Canucks get set to take on the Islanders. While Vancouver has had good success on the road against the Isles of late, going 4-0-2 in their last 6, the Isles are a much better team, and the Canucks much worse than in the past.
Fortunately for the Canucks, they should have Luca Sbisa back in the lineup (yeah I know that looks weird, but it is what it is), and possibly Jannik Hansen. Even better news, we may see Brandon Sutter return from sports hernia surgery before this road trip is over. That would leave just Dan Hamhuis on the IR, and some interesting scenarios for the Canucks as they head into the all star break. Getting on a roll could see them make a playoff push, while continuing to stumble along might see Jim Benning look to unload some players and prepare for the future, most notably Radim Vrbata.
The Islanders have a bit of a concern on their hands when it comes to their superstar captain John Tavares. He's been average at best this year, and have been counting on improved efforts from guys like Kyle Okposo and Brock Nelson to pick up the slack. Add in a couple big defensive injuries in Travis Hamonic and Johnny 'Backbreaker' Boychuk and the Islanders are managing, but you get the feeling they are expecting more.