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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Avalanche

by Jacob Betzner / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum tonight against the Colorado Avalanche (7:00 p.m.) and seek a fourth consecutive win after taking the last three games of a five-game road trip on the West Coast.


The Avalanche beat the Islanders 5-0 on Thursday, Oct. 30 in their first meeting, but forward Matt Martin said the Islanders played solid despite the lopsided score. However, Martin said the Isles need to make a few tweaks before the rematch with the Avalanche.

“It wasn’t our best game, but I don’t think it’s the worst we’ve played either,” he said. “They have a pretty good goaltender. We need to get more traffic and hopefully, we get some bounces this game. We played a pretty good game last time, but I think we need to limit our turnovers, get pucks deep, be physical, and throw a lot of pucks on net.”

Head Coach Jack Capuano said the Islanders improved penalty kill in the last three games of the road trip led to wins over strong competition, including the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in a 2-1 shootout victory on Thursday. Capuano said the penalty kill needs to continue to limit the opposition to help win games at home.

“We had a good trip and we have to come back and we have to win at home,” he said. “You look at what you need to do to get into the playoffs, and you have to win at home. There are teams that have tremendous home records and average road records and get [into the playoffs].”

Defenseman Thomas Hickey said the team wants to bring the momentum gained on the road trip into Nassau Coliseum against the Avalanche. He said Colorado brings a balanced attack with four lines that can score goals in any given game.

“We really like our first and third periods [in Colorado],” he said. “I think we controlled a lot of the play, but at the same time, we understand they don’t need a whole lot to score goals. They're a really potent offense with a lot of weapons. There has to be no letdowns.”

The Avalanche have dropped four of five games since beating the Islanders and most recently lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3, on Saturday. Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene, who both recorded two points against the Islanders are tied for the team lead along with defenseman Tyson Barrie at 10 points each.

This is the final meeting of the regular season between the Islanders and the Avalanche. Puck drop is 7:00 p.m.

New York Islanders
9-5-0 (18 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, T-5th in Eastern Conference)
3-2-0 home
Colorado Avalanche
4-7-5 (13 points - 6th in Central Division, T-11th in Western Conference)
1-4-3 road
7:00  p.m.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Uniondale, NY

Television:
MSG PLUS 2
Play-by-play: Jiggs McDonald
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders News:
- Islanders Practice Updates (Nov. 10)
- Isles TV: Defensive Play (Nov. 10)
- Islanders Prospect Report (Nov. 10)

What's Happening at the Coliseum:

- Military Appreciation Night
- Lower Lobby – 5:00pm
- Doors – 5:45pm
- Military Jersey Auction – jerseys worn during warm ups
Islanders player to watch
Frans Nielsen - Forward

Frans Nielsen played hero on Saturday night, scoring the only goal for either side in a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes extending the Islanders winning streak to three games. Nielsen ranks fourth on the team with nine points (5G, 4A) in 14 games, and plays in virtually every situation for the Isles
Avalanche player to watch
Nathan MacKinnon - Forward

The 2013 first overall pick scored his first two goals of the season when the Islanders met the Avalanche on October 30. Only 19 years old, MacKinnon is tied for the Avalanche lead with 10 points (4G, 6A) in 16 games, but six of his 10 points have come in the past six games.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
86 Nikolay Kulemin 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee 
18 Ryan Strome 29 Brock Nelson
84 Mikhail Grabovski51 Frans Nielsen15 Cal Clutterbuck
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas 17 Matt Martin

Defensemen

44 Calvin de Haan 3 Travis Hamonic
2 Nick Leddy
37 Brian Strait
14 Thomas Hickey
11 Lubomir Visnovsky

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Colorado Avalanche previous game lines
Forwards
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 12 Jarome Iginla
90 Ryan O'Reilly - 9 Matt Duchene -11 Jamie McGinn
40 Alex Tanguay - 7 John Mitchell - 45 Dennis Everberg
55 Cody McLeod - 24 Marc-Andre Cliche -

25 Max Talbot

Defensemen
8 Jan Hejda - 6 Erik Johnson
5 Nate Guenin - 4 Tyson Barrie
2 Nick Holden - 22 Zach Redmond

Goaltenders
1 Semyon Varlamov
20 Reto Berra


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