NEW YORK ISLANDERS (9-6-3) VS. ARIZONA COYOTES (9-7-1)
7 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, TICKETS - JOHN TAVARES BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT
1. Top Line: Jack Capuano experimented with his lines in California. The result: chemistry.
Brock Nelson and Kyle Okposo played alongside John Tavares in California and the newest incarnation of the top line found a groove, hitting the scoresheet in all three games, including both Islanders wins.
“We were able to contribute in San Jose and in all three games, but I think we easily could have had more just looking at our chances,” Tavares said. “There were some shifts we still think we can be a lot better. That’s the good thing being able to produce, but knowing there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”
Nelson has two goals and two assists since being promoted to the top line, breaking out offensively after scoring one goal in his previous nine games. Nelson said his goal is to keep things simple when playing alongside Tavares and Okposo, going to the net and finding open ice as the play develops.
“When you’re playing with those guys, you just have to go out there and keep it simple,” Nelson said. “John thinks the game at a high level, so he knows what you’re going to do with the puck most times before you’re going to do it. Obviously, Kyle is a great player, they both create a lot of space for themselves and if I’m able to move my feet and find space, they are going to find me.”
Tavares has two goals and an assist in his last three games, while Okposo has a pair of assists.
2. Coast-to-Coast: 2. Coast-to-Coast: The Islanders are back on the East Coast after a successful California road trip. The Islanders took two of three games, beating the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks 4-2 and 4-1 respectively. While there was a lot of focus on the Islanders' offense, it should be noted that defensively, the team only allowed five goals over the past three games.
“It was a real good trip for us,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We get on the road against three really good teams. Nine periods of good solid hockey and I thought honestly our best game was the LA game and we didn’t get any points.”
3. John Tavares Bobblehead Night: Monday is John Tavares Bobblehead Night at Barclays Center. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive bobbleheads. Buy tickets here.
5. Domi and Duclair:
4. Coyotes: After finishing in the lottery last season, the Arizona Coyotes have bounced back in the early going of the 2015-16 season. The Coyotes are second in the Pacific Division and have won three of their last four games heading into Monday’s matchup. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is riding a career-high, five-game point streak (2G, 3A), while Martin Hanzal leads the Coyotes with 16 points (2G, 14A).
Two 20-year-olds, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, have breathed life into the Coyotes organization. Domi leads the Coyotes with eight goals and is second on the team with 15 points, while Duclair’s seven goals are second-most on the team. Domi, a 2013 first-round pick, is the son of former NHLer Tie Domi, while Duclair was traded from the Rangers for Keith Yandle last season.