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
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
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.
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