The Colorado Avalanche continues its Eastern Conference road trip on Monday in New York, taking on the Islanders after beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday. The contest opens a back-to-back set for the Avs, who also play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Mikko Rantanen scored a hat trick while Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who had two points (one goal, one assist), responded in kind to New Jersey's shorthanded goal. Three more players turned in multi-point nights for Colorado. Philipp Grubauer saved 28 of 30 shots to preserve the win.
The Islanders were shutout 3-0 by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the second shutout they've suffered this season.
The matchup will take place at Nassau Memorial Coliseum, Colorado's first visit to Long Island since Nov. 11, 2014.
The Avalanche and Islanders will conclude their two-game season series at Pepsi Center on Feb. 19.
Avalanche at New York Islanders
Nassau Coliseum | Uniondale, N.Y.
COLORADO-NEW YORK CONNECTIONS
Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov played eight seasons with the Avalanche (2011-2019). He posted a 183-156-38 record with a 2.72 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and 21 shutouts in 389 games with Colorado, trailing only Patrick Roy on the franchise's all-time lists in wins, games, shutouts and save percentage… Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk was drafted by Colorado (No. 61 overall) in 2002 and began his NHL career with the Avs... New York forward Derick Brassard finished the 2018-19 season with the Avs… Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield played two seasons at the University of Denver (2011-13).
The Avalanche lost both games against the Islanders in 2018-19, falling 4-1 in Denver and 4-3 in overtime on the road Feb. 9. Erik Johnson had a goal and an assist in the second contest while J.T. Compher scored with 2:45 remaining in regulation to send the game into extra minutes.
The Avs are 40-38-7 all-time against New York, with a 17-13-4 mark since 1995. Colorado won the first eight games in the series after the team moved to Denver, a streak that spanned over three years (November 1995 to December 1998).
The Avalanche did not practice on Sunday… Valeri Nichushkin missed his first game since Oct. 21 on Saturday with an illness…Vladislav Kamenev replaced Nichushkin, in his first game since Dec. 9 against the Calgary Flames… Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz are expected to split goaltending duties in the back-to-back set against the New York Islanders and New York Rangers on Monday and Tuesday.
Colin Wilson (lower body) is out indefinitely after having surgery.
SCOUTING THE ISLANDERS
The Islanders (25-12-3) are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, with a 13-5-2 mark as the home team. After starting 1-3-0, New York won 10 straight and earned points in 17 games in a row, a stretch that ended with a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 25. Since then, the Islanders have gone 9-9-1.
They own the 16th-ranked power play (tied), converting on 19.4 percent of their chances, and the 13th-best penalty kill, finding success on 81.2 percent of kills. New York's games are typically low scoring, as they've tallied 112 goals (26th-most) and surrendered just 104 (second-least).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Ryan Pulock
Ryan Pulock leads all defensemen on his team with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and is averaging a team-high 21:57 minutes on the ice per game.
Pulock, who has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) since the start of December, recorded four points (two goals, two assists) in two games against Colorado last year, tying a team-high versus the Avs.
With two assists in Saturday's 5-2 win, Nathan MacKinnon now has 19 multi-point games, the most in the NHL.
Ryan Graves owns the best plus-minus margin in the NHL at plus-31.
The Avalanche leads the NHL with 156 goals.
This is the first of two meetings between the Avalanche and Islanders. They will meet again on Feb. 19 in Denver… The contest marks Colorado's first visit to Nassau Memorial Coliseum since Nov. 11, 2014. The team owns a 5-7-0 all-time record in the building since relocating to the Mile High City in 1995… Nathan MacKinnon leads all NHL players in points per game (1.52)… Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has tied his career-high in goals this season (seven)… Scoring eight seconds into the third period on Saturday, Mikko Rantanen matched the fastest goal to begin a period in Avs' history… Colorado has scored at least five goals in 12 games this year--with a 12-0-0 record in such games--tied for the fourth-most times in the NHL… The outing opens a back-to-back set for Colorado. The Avalanche is 5-2-0 in the first contest of these sets this year.