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Game Preview: Islanders vs Avalanche

The Islanders host Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche at NYCB Live (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha / NewYorkIslanders.com

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (25-12-3) VS COLORADO AVALANCHE (25-13-4)

7PM | NASSAU COLISEUM | BUY TICKETS

WATCH: MSG+ | MSG GO

LISTEN: 88.7FM | 103.9FM | 98.7FM


The Islanders were shut out 3-0 by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena. Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in the loss, which was his fourth-straight start. 

The Colorado Avalanche won their second game in a row as they defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday night. Mikko Rantanen recorded his second-career hat trick, while Ian Cole and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also found the back of the net. Phillipp Grubauer made 28 saves.  



MORNING SKATE UPDATES:

- Semyon Varlamov was the first goaltender off at morning skate and is the projected starter to face the Avalanche. If Varlamov gets the nod he'll make his fifth-straight start and his 23rd start of the season. It'll be the first time Varlamov faces his former club where he spent eight seasons out of his 12-year NHL career. 

"I had a great eight years playing for the Colorado Avalanche," Varlamov said. "Colorado is a beautiful state, there are a lot of things to do. What can I say, it's probably one of the best spots in the United States to live, so I really enjoyed it there. The team was good and the organization was really good to me, really supportive. I always think positive about the time I spent in Colorado."

- Pavel Francouz will start in net for the Avs tonight. The Czech netminder will be making his 16th start of the season. Francouz has a record of 11-3-1, a 2.41 goals against average and a save percentage of .927. 


ISLES NOTES: 

- The Islanders were shut out for just the second time this season. The Isles are 2-3-0 in their last five games and with the loss to Toronto, dropped into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points and a record of 25-12-3. The Isles have lost two straight games, combining for one goal over the two contests.

- Varlamov made his fourth-straight start, which is the longest consecutive starting nods either Varlamov or Thomas Greiss have received. Varlamov has a record of 14-5-3, a 2.40 goals against average and a save percentage of .920. 

- If Varlamov plays on Monday vs Colorado, it'll be his first game against his former team. Varlamov spent eight seasons with Colorado from 2011-19 before signing with the Islanders over the summer, going 183-156-38 in 389 contests with the Avalanche. 

- Derick Brassard will also be facing his former club as he plays the Avs for the first time. Brassard finished the 2018-19 season with Colorado after starting in Pittsburgh and being moved to Florida prior. Through 20 regular season games, Brassard had four goals. Brassard helped the Avs through the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs where he had one assist through nine games.

- For the first time this season, the Islanders did not take a penalty. The Isles PK remains 11-for-11 over the last five games. In the NHL, the unit is ranked 12th overall at 81.2%.  

- Johnny Boychuk played in his 700th-career game on Saturday. The 35-year-old blueliner has a career total of 205 points (54G, 151A).  

- Jordan Eberle fired a season-high six shots on goal against the Leafs. The winger has not found the back of the net in nine games. Through 30 games this season, Eberle has 17 points (3G, 14A).  

- The Isles power play went 0-for-1 against Toronto. The Isles haven't scored a power-play goal since Dec. 21 against Anaheim. In the NHL, the Isles PP unit is ranked 17th overall at 19.4%.  

- Sebastian Aho was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday after defenseman Adam Pelech was placed on IR after undergoing surgery for his Achilles tendon. Aho did not play against the Maple Leafs. The 23-year-old Swede has played in 22-career NHL games and has four NHL points (1G, 3A). Aho has 20 points (2G, 18A) in 34 games with the Sound Tigers this season. 


AVALANCHE NOTES: 

- Rantanen now has 15 goals and 31 points in 26 games this season. The 23-year-old Finn has points in five of his last six games with seven points (5G, 2A) during that span.  

- Cole scored his fourth goal of the season. The defenseman has 20 points (4G, 16A) through 37 games this season.  

- Bellemare scored his first shorthanded goal of the season and seventh goal of the season. Through 41 games, the center has 16 points (7G, 9A). 

- Samuel Girard added two assists on the evening. The 21-year-old blueliner has eight assists in his last three games.  

- Nathan MacKinnon added two assists on the night. MacKinnon is riding a three-game point streak with eight points (3G, 5A) during that span. Through 42 games this season, the centerman has the second-most points in the NHL with 64, is fourth in goals (25) and assists (39). MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in all three stats.   

- Grubauer made his 25th start of the season and improved his record to 12-9-3. The German netminder has a 2.87 GAA and a .911 SV%.  

- Cale Makar had one assist on the night. The 21-year-old blueliner is ranked second among rookies in the NHL in points (32) and assists (23). Makar is ranked third among rookies in scoring (9). Among all defenseman in the NHL, Makar's 32 points is sixth best. Makar is second on the Avalanche in assists and points.

- The Avalanche lead the NHL in goals for with a nightly average of 3.71. Colorado has 12 goals on their two-game winning streak. 

- The Avalanche are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. 

- Colin Wilson has been sidelined since Oct. 26 with a lower-body injury. Through nine games the center has four assists. Valeri Nichushkin was ill and was a late scratch for Saturday's game.


ISLES VS AVS:

The Isles won both meetings against the Avs last season (2-0-0). The Isles claimed the first meeting of the season 4-1 on Dec. 18 at Pepsi Center, as Jordan Eberle, Johnny Boychuk, Anders Lee and former Islander Valtteri Filppula scored while Thomas Greiss made 30 saves. The Islanders swept the season series with a 4-3 overtime win on Feb. 9. Ryan Pulock scored twice while Eberle and Josh Bailey also found the back of the net. Varlamov was with the Avs at the time and made 37 saves. The Isles are 5-0-0 in their last five home games against the Avs. 

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