Game 58 Preview: Avalanche at Islanders

Jim McIsaac

The Avalanche head back to New York to close out their season series against the New York Islanders, in their last game before the Olympic Break.

After an impressive 8-2 stretch the Avalanche have struggled a bit on this Eastern Conference road trip.  The Avs barely eked out a win against the New Jersey Devils, scoring their only goal in the games closing minutes with the goalie pulled.  The next night the Avalanche suffered an absolute drubbing to the New York Rangers and Thursday the Avalanche squeaked out just a single goal with the goalie pulled in a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.  For those keeping track, that's just 4 goals in the last three games, none of which have come at even strength.

If there's been a bright-spot on this road trip, however, it has been the play of Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.  MacKinnon is riding a career long 7-game point streak and has 6 goals in his last 9 games, while Landeskog tied a career long 8-game point streak with an assist against the Flyers.  To avoid their 3rd consecutive loss, the Avalanche will need Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, and Ryan O`Reilly to step up and get something done in regulation.  With the exception of an OT goal in New Jersey, Duchene and O'Reilly have been held off the scoreboard this week and their line has really struggled with possession on this East Coast trip.  Yes, +/- is a flawed garbage stat, but it's worth mentioning that Duchene has been on the ice for 7 of the 9 goals surrendered on this road trip, while O'Reilly has been on the ice for all 9 goals against (PK and Philly empty-netter are the extras).  The Islanders sit 29th in the NHL in goals allowed with 195, so if there was ever a team to break out of your scoring slump against, this is it.

Last Time These Teams Met: Back in January the Islanders won 2-1 in overtime. Michael Grabner won the game just moments after the Avalanche failed to convert an amazing opportunity in the Islander's zone.  The Avalanche only scored one goal, but you might remember it, because it was pretty cool:

Avalanche Projected Lineup:

Jamie McGinn - Matt Duchene - Ryan O'Reilly

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - P.A. Parenteau

John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon - Max Talbot

Patrick Bordeleau - Marc Andre Cliche - Cody McLeod

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Nate Guenin - Andre Benoit

J.S. Giguere

Scratch: Alex Tanguay, knee injury :(

IR: Cory Sarich, David van der Gulik

Islanders Projected Lineup:

Thomas Vanek - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Colin McDonald - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Eric Boulton

Travis Hamonic (questionable) - Andrew MacDonald

Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey

Calvin de Haan - Brian Strait

Evgeni Nabokov

Next Up: Some well deserved rest for most of the team, and a quick trip to the beautiful, well prepared-resort town of Sochi.  Hope those boys enjoy acid face water and toilets that don't flush.

Puck Drops at 7:00 EST 5:00 MST on ALT2

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