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Scouting Report: New York Islanders

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- With a couple of Metropolitan teams nipping at their heels, the New York Islanders are trying to move up from the third spot in their division as they go through their seven-game road swing.

The Islanders, who trail the second-place New York Rangers by just three points, are off to a good start on their trek.

In New Jersey, they picked up a 1-0 win and followed that up with a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, a game saw goaltender Jaroslav Halak make 30 saves.

The netminder has three wins in his last four starts and has strung together back-to-back wins to start the Islanders trip.

"He was focused and determined," head coach Jack Capuano said of Halak after the win in Minnesota. "Overall I liked Jaro’s game."

Special teams have been an area of strength for the Islanders in 2015-16.

On the power play, they have connected on 20.0 percent of their chances on the road and 19.9 percent of their chances overall. They have scored with the man advantage in seven of their last nine games, including netting two on the power play in Minnesota.

"We’re shooting more pucks and we’re hungrier on the rebounds," Frans Nielsen told NewYorkIslanders.com. "We have a simpler power play right now."

The Islanders have a highly proficient penalty kill this season, ranking tops in the league with a 87.2 percent efficiency. On the road, they have killed off 85.5 percent of the penalties, which is second only to the Boston Bruins (87.3 percent on the road).

This is the final match-up in the two-game season series between the Flames and Islanders. New York took the first game 4-0 on Oct. 26, 2015. Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves in his shutout performance while Frans Nielsen scored two goals in the Islanders victory.

BREAKING DOWN THE ISLANDERS

Record: 32-19-7

Power Play: 19.9 percent overall (34 goals scored in 171 chances with the man advantage), 20.0 percent on the road (20 goals scored in 75 chances with the man advantage)

Penalty Kill: 87.2 percent overall (22 goals allowed in 172 times being short-handed), 85.5 percent on the road (12 goals allowed in 83 times being short-handed)

2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 1-0-0

2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 2-0-0

Notable Injuries: Eric Boulton (upper body), Calvin de Haan (lower body), Adam Pelech (upper body), and Mikhail Grabovksi (upper body)

Who's HOT: John Tavares

Tavares scored one goal and posted two points in the Islanders 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild earlier this week and now has six points in his last five games. During that five-game stretch, he has 19 shots on net and is a plus-one.

The Islanders captain leads his team in scoring with 23 goals and 49 points through 55 outings this season.

Honourable Mention: Frans Nielsen

The Dane has three goals in his last three games and has posted four points in his last five skates. In the Islander's 4-1 win over the Wild, he scored two goals and had three shots on net. He currently sits third in team scoring with 18 goals and 38 points in 58 games

Nielsen scored two goals against the Flames back on Oct. 26 when the Islanders defeated the Flames 4-0 in Brooklyn.

Who's NOT: Nikolay Kulemin

Kulemin has been held scoreless in his last seven games and has just one point since Jan. 25. In 58 skates, the 29-year-old has six goals and 15 points.

The Russian forward had two assists in the Islanders win over the Flames earlier this season.

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