It’s not a divisional game but it’s a big one nonetheless as the Avalanche need to start banking points at home against Eastern Conference teams as the Central becomes more and more congested. The Islanders have only three wins against Western Conference teams this season, so this is one the Avs should make sure they walk away from with two points.
This is the second of a four game home stand that sees the Avalanche play four non-playoff teams. It’s a perfect time to build a buffer on teams like Minnesota and Dallas who will be chasing that third spot in the Central Division playoffs.
These two teams split the season series last year with the home team winning each game.
The Avalanche made a few roster moves yesterday as they sent A.J. Greer and Mark Alt back to the Eagles and they’ve recalled Sheldon Dries.
Greer saw just over five minutes of ice time Saturday night so it’s no real surprise that he has been returned to the AHL. Alt’s demotion means that Mark Barberio must be back at full health.
Dries being recalled gives the team another center to fill in as Alex Kerfoot recovers from his injury.
What do you think, Does Mikko extend his point streak to 15 games tonight?
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Sven Andrighetto
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Colin Wilson - Sheldon Dries - Gabriel Bourque
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth - Nikita Zadorov
New York Islanders
The Islanders come into tonight’s game with only one regulation win in their previous six games.
The Islanders are an interesting case of a lineup built on a more old school separation of top and bottom six forwards. The team has built their top lines around a group of highly skilled players like Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee. After that, they have chosen to go with a group of grinding forwards that bring little else to the table aside from hard fore-checking.
If Josh Ho-Sang is in the lineup tonight - and that’s a big if - it changes the dynamic a little, but otherwise, the Avs should have no problem skating circles around a bottom-6 built on a foundation of Leo Komarov and Casey Cizikas.
Mathew Barzal leads the team with 27 points through 31 games.
All present at #Isles morning skate— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 17, 2018
Extra Fs: Johnston, Kuhnhackl
Extra D: Sbisa
No confirmation yet but we’re likely to see Thomas Greiss in net for the Islanders. He has been solid this season with an 11-6-1 record and a .916 sv%.
For the Avs, we are likely to see Semyon Varlamov in net, though it would be fun to see Coach Bednar go with Philipp Grubauer so we could have an all German goalie matchup.