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Game Day: Colorado Avalanche go back to back

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Avalanche look to pull off a second straight win in their second road game in two days against the Islanders

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Islanders Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have been outshot by a significant margin in each of their last two games, relying on poor goaltending from their opponents and plenty of excellence in their own net to pull of a pair of wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.

Win they have, though - and now, they’ll face down their toughest chance at a win yet, as they arrive in Brooklyn this afternoon for the second leg of a road back-to-back through the Metropolitan Division.

AVALANCHE PREVIEW

Colorado didn’t have a morning skate ahead of their game later (unsurprising, given they played just last night), but these were their lines for the game in Philadelphia:

FORWARDS
Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen
Andrighetto-Duchene-Yakupov
Bourque-Soderberg-Comeau
Greer-Kerfoot-[player]

DEFENSE
Barberio-Johnson
Nemeth-Barrie
Zadorov-Lindholm
Mironov

Expect Jonathan Bernier to start for Colorado, which the team confirmed would be the case before they even faced Philly last night.

Colorado has been getting the best of the best from their top line, as Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon excel at driving play and scoring with Gabriel Landeskog rounding out the absolutely lethal line.

From there on down, though, it gets a little murkier.

Jost is still out, which hurts significantly, and the second line has run either hot or cold when Nail Yakupov is on the ice. Credit where due for Duchene, who has already looked like one of the team’s best players this year - but for all we know, he could be on a plane to join the Senators as we speak.

Jonathan Bernier will have to play lights-out if Colorado is anything like they’ve been recently, but he’s performed well so far. The fact that Colorado has given him five games already this year, including the one they’ll play tonight, suggests they trust him to help them give Varlamov enough rest to make it through the full season.

ISLANDERS PREVIEW

The Islanders are 7-5-1 on the year, playing some high-action hockey with tons of scoring on both ends of the ice in nearly all of their games.

Their last contest was a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, but they’ve had three days to rest up since then - and prior to that decision, they’d won two straight games while scoring six goals apiece.

Arthur Staple suggested the Islanders aren’t changing their lineup from Thursday, so here’s their possible line combinations via Left Wing Lock:

FORWARDS

ANDREW LADD-JORDAN EBERLE-MATHEW BARZAL
JOHN TAVARES-JOSH BAILEY-ANDERS LEE
ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER-BROCK NELSON-JASON CHIMERA
NIKOLAY KULEMIN-CASEY CIZIKAS-CAL CLUTTERBUCK

DEFENSE

NICK LEDDY-JOHNNY BOYCHUK
RYAN PULOCK-THOMAS HICKEY
DENNIS SEIDENBERG-CALVIN DE HAAN

Per head coach Doug Weight, it’s Thomas Greiss in net for the Isles.

The John Tavares line has been rolling this year, and consider them the Islanders’ biggest threat - but don’t count out their Andrew Ladd line, where Jordan Eberle is just heating up after getting dealt from Edmonton over the summer. Brock Nelson even has eight points on what can only be considered the team’s third line; as their stat lines have shown so far this year, New York’s offense isn’t exactly easy to shut down.

Where they look weakest, like a number of Metro Division clubs, is in net.

Jaroslav Halak boasts the better save percentage of the team’s two netminders with a .906 through nine games - which is identical to Bernier’s own numbers in four games - while Greiss sits on a .898 through five games of his own.

You can catch the action this afternoon at 4:00 PM MST.