Rookie Anders Nilsson thrown to wolves, starts against Penguins tonight
It’s not going to be Rick DiPietro that gets the pleasure of dealing with a madhouse in Pittsburgh for Sidney Crosby’s welcome back game. The Islanders default goalie is getting the night off after a miserable performance against Boston on Saturday and in his place will be rookie Anders Nilsson making his first career NHL start.
Nilsson was called up after both Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov were put on IR with separate injuries and all of Nilsson’s NHL experience came in Saturday night’s drubbing at the hands of the Bruins. Now he’ll have the pleasure of trying to play the spoiler role for Crosby and the Penguins.
Isles coach Jack Capuano making the curious decision to play Nilsson in front of what will be a playoff-like atmosphere for the Crosby welcome wagon could be serving as a way to get the rest of the team fired up and focused for the game. Making sure everyone is defensively responsible and active is part of what Capuano has to do but if the Isles turn in another craptastic effort against the Pens tonight, things could be changing on Long Island sooner than not.
Best of luck to Nilsson though, it’s a hell of a way to make a memorable first start, here’s to hoping he isn’t thoroughly devoured.