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Game 44 Preview: Islanders at Avalanche

The Avalanche conclude their season long home stand against the surging New York Islanders.

Jim McIsaac

Don't let the standings fool you on this one.  Yes, things have not gone as planned, again, in New York.  The Islanders (16-22-7) sit 15th in the Eastern Conference and 27th in the NHL, but the team has been surging lately.  The Islanders are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and have won 6 straight on the road behind strong performances from John Tavares (44GP, 20G, 54P) and Olympic snub Kyle Okposo (44GP, 17G, 43P).  Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda will face the tall task of shutting down the Islanders outstanding top line, and their success could very well determine the outcome of this game.  The Avalanche meanwhile are 4-1-1 on their home stand and looking for their second straight victory before heading to Minnesota tomorrow night.

On the injury front, things look, tentatively better for the Avalanche.  Ryan O`Reilly is doubtful for tonights game after suffering a devastating hugging injury.  If he is unable to play, David Van Der Gulik will take his spot on the Avalanche roster.  Van Der Gulik has played well for the Monsters since returning from injury, he scored a hattrick last week and looked good in his Avalanche season debut.  The scoresheet shows Van Der Gulik with just a pair of shots and a hit, but he was involved in the play every time he touched the ice and helped drive a few strong possession shifts for his line when most of the team was struggling to hold on to the puck.

Avalanche Projected Lines:

McGinn - Duchene - MacKinnon

Landeskog - Stastny - Mitchell

McLeod - Cliche - Talbot

Bordeleau - Malone - Van Der Gulik

Hejda - Johnson

Benoit - Sarich

Barrie - Holden

Who's Hot?

Gabriel Landeskog is riding an 8 game point streak

Paul Stastny has 8 points in his last 3 games

Islanders Projected Lines:

Vanek - Tavares - Okposo

Bailey - Nielsen - Nelson

Grabner - Strome - Clutterbuck

Martin - Cizikas - Boulton

Strait - MacDonald

de Haan - Hamonic

Carkner - Hickey


On a side note, if the Islanders want to just leave Travis Hamonic here in Denver after the game, I'd be totally ok with that.

Puck Drops at 7:00 PM MST 9:00 PM EST on Altitude Sports