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Game Preview: Islanders at Coyotes

The Islanders wrap up a back-to-back set in Arizona (8 p.m., MSG+2)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders
New York Islanders (15-15-7) at Arizona Coyotes (11-22-6)
8 p.m. Gila River Arena 
Radio: 970AM - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News

Season Series:

The Islanders beat the Coyotes 3-2 on Oct. 21 at Barclays Center, as Johnny Boychuk broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded, third-period goal. The Islanders have owned the Coyotes at home, but have lost three of their last four in Glendale, including a 1-0 loss last season. 

Video: Boychuk's goal lifts Isles over Coyotes, 3-2
We're Going Back to Back: 

Both teams played on Friday night before travelling back to Arizona, as the Islanders fell to Colorado 2-1 in overtime while the Coyotes lost to Anaheim 3-2 in OT. That means neither team will be rested on Saturday.  

Video: NYI@COL: Boychuk buries blistering shot for PPG

Boychuk To Play 500th Game:

Johnny Boychuk is hitting an NHL milestone on Saturday, as the defenseman plays in his 500th career game. Boychuk has 148 points (42G, 106A) in 499 games split between Colorado, Boston and the Islanders. 

Boychuk was drafted by the Avalanche in the second round of the 2002 draft and won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 before coming to the Islanders via trade just before the start of the 2014-15 season. Boychuk has put up the best numbers of his career since joining the Islanders, scoring 73 points (23G, 50A) in 178 games with the team after scoring 78 points in 317 games with the Bruins. The 32-year-old has 13 points (5G, 8A) this season and scored on Friday night in Denver. 

Islanders Fall in Colorado:

The Islanders showed a little rust in their first period back from a five-day break, but found their legs and carried the play in the second half of the game against Colorado on Friday night. The Isles had their chances, but Calvin Pickard stopped 35-of-36 shots for the Avalanche. Thomas Greiss was the best Islander on Friday night, stopping 37-of-39 shots, including a first period penalty shot and a breakaway in overtime. Nathan MacKinnon's OT winner came on the power play, making it hard to fault Greiss, and overall, the Islanders deserved a better fate - or at least a chance in the shootout. 

Video: Condensed Game: Islanders @ Avalanche

Coyotes Struggling: 

The Coyotes are in the midst of a nine-game winless streak, most recently falling to the Ducks on Friday night. The Coyotes last win came on Dec. 15 - a 3-2 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Arizona (28 points) currently sits one point ahead of Colorado (27 points) at the bottom of the NHL standings. The Coyotes are both 29th in goals for per game (2.08) and goals allowed per game (3.23). 

Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes with 24 points (9G, 15A) this season. Anthony Duclair and Max Domi are experiencing a sophomore setback, as Duclair's nine points (3G, 6A) put him on pace to finish below the 20 goal, 44-point season he had in 2015-16. Domi, who has 16 points, isn't likely to recreate his 52-point rookie season. 

Shane Doan will be honored prior to Saturday's game, as the Coyotes captain recently played his 1500th career game - all with the same franchise.

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