Islanders notebook: Goalie Nabokov ready to play
Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov said he feels better than his mask looks.
In the first period of Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff game, the Penguins' Jarome Iginla rocketed a vicious slap shot off Nabokov's forehead, driving him to his ice.
After a brief delay, Nabokov stayed in the game, but coach Jack Capuano pulled him in the second period with the Penguins ahead, 4-0. Thursday, Nabokov said he is fine and has no lingering effects of the hit.
“I got a little bit lucky,” he said. “It hit me on the top of the helmet. I didn't get a square shot.”
The helmet, however, is another story. Nabokov showed reporters where the puck hit the helmet, with paint and plastic worn away from the force of Igilna's shot.
“It's probably done,” he said.
Although Capuano didn't address his lineup, Nabokov, who played in 41 regular-season games this year, appeared eager to redeem himself Friday in Game 2 at Consol Energy Center.
“He's a really tough Russian,” said goalie Kevin Poulin, who replaced Nabokov on Thursday.
'Physical, but clean'
Capuano said he has not heard from the NHL about any possible discipline for center Marty Reasoner, who ran into the Pens' Jussi Jokinen near the end of Game 1.
“It was right skate on right skate,” Capuano said. “Marty Reasoner is not that type of player. We want to play physical, but we want to play clean.”
Jokinen was uninjured and did not appear concerned about the hit, although he admitted, “It didn't look good (on video).”“I got my knee out of the way. That's always your first concern. I don't want to comment too much on that. It is what it is.”
Matt Bertani was a junior at Norwin High School when the Penguins and Islanders met in the 1993 playoffs. Now, as the Islanders' video coach, he's running through tape and helping formulate ways to beat the Penguins. Bertani, 37, played hockey for Norwin and Mercyhurst and has been an assistant with the Johnstown Chiefs, Penn State and the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, Conn.