The Colorado Avalanche plays its first home game of the 2017 calendar year on Friday night, hosting the New York Islanders at Pepsi Center. It's the first of two meetings this season and the only matchup in Denver, as the Avalanche will pay a visit to Barclay's Center on Feb. 12.
The Avs are 15-10-3 all-time against the Islanders, but at home they have won three of the last five and earned at least a point in each game of the series at Pepsi Center since Jan. 8, 2011. Colorado is 10-2-3 overall on home ice against the Isles.
New York enters Thursday's contest coming off its five-day bye week, while the Avalanche enters its five-day break following Friday night's match.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche allowed three power-play goals to the Calgary Flames in a 4-1 loss on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome. Patrick Wiercioch notched the lone goal for the Avs, who were outshot 37-18 on the night.
The Islanders cruised to a 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on New Year's Eve, capping their fourth victory in their last five games. Six different players scored for New York, and four players finished with multi-point games. It was the fifth straight game in which the Isles put up four or more goals.
Last Time They Met
It's been over a year since these two teams met, when the Avalanche took a 2-1 win over New York on Dec. 17, 2015 at Pepsi Center. Francois Beauchemin potted both goals for Colorado, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 shots.
Video: Gardner and Rycroft preview tonight's game
What to Watch
Overall, New York ranks seventh in the National Hockey League in goals per game, averaging 2.86. The Isles offense has come on strong as of late and ranked fourth in the month of December with 3.43 goals per game, trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in that category.
Capitalizing on Power Play Opportunities
The Avalanche had more power-play opportunities (57) than any team in the league in December. Since turning the page to 2017, Colorado is 1-for-6 with the man advantage. Its 16.7 success rate is tied for 12th in the league so far this month.
Player to Watch
Colorado: Center Nathan MacKinnon
Over the last five seasons, MacKinnon has recorded four goals in six contests against the Islanders, tops amongst all Avalanche skaters in that time frame. He currently leads the Avs with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) this season.
New York: Left wing Andrew Ladd
Ladd has eight goals and four assists on the season but punched in eight of his 12 points through the month of December. He's riding a four-game point streak (four goals, one assist) into Friday night's matchup.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT between the Islanders and the Avalanche, and tickets are still available. Friday's contest can be watched live on Altitude TV and can be heard live on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.