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Preview: Islanders at Avalanche

Goalie Thomas Greiss starts for New York; Colorado has lost five in a row

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (15-15-6) at AVALANCHE (12-25-1)

9 p.m. ET; ALT, MSG+2, NHL.TV

Islanders team scope

Goalie Thomas Greiss will start for the New York Islanders, who open a two-game road trip following their bye week. The Islanders were 4-1-0 before the break, which began after their 6-2 win at the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 31. Greiss has won three in a row, allowing five goals in that span, and is 5-2-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in his career against the Colorado Avalanche. Captain John Tavares needs two points for 500 in his NHL career. The Islanders practiced in Denver on Thursday and had a morning skate Friday. "I like where our confidence is and I'm happy we're getting back to work," coach Jack Capuano said. The Islanders went 0-4-1 before starting their current streak and aren't taking the struggling Avalanche for granted. "I think we kind of know how it feels to be in their position," center Casey Cizikas said. "We've done a lot of good things the past month and we just have to continue building off of that."


Avalanche team scope

Left wing Matt Nieto will make his debut with the Avalanche after being claimed on waivers Thursday from the San Jose Sharks. He'll play on a line with center Carl Soderberg and right wing Jarome Iginla, and will also kill penalties. "I'm really happy that Colorado picked me up," Nieto said after the morning skate. "It's a good opportunity and I couldn't be more excited." Nieto had two assists in 16 games with the Sharks. "I wasn't given much opportunity there, wasn't playing many games," he said. "I'm very excited to be here and to start a new chapter." Goalie Calvin Pickard will make his seventh consecutive start while Semyon Varlamov recovers from a groin injury. The Avalanche have lost five games in a row, 10 of 11, and are 0-9-1 in their past 10 at home since a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 15. "I'd say we're borderline fragile right now, a little discouraged as a group," coach Jared Bednar said. "We're doing some good things in games and in other games we don't seem to be as sharp."


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Shane Prince -- Ryan Strome -- Brock Nelson

Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: Anthony Beauvillier , Stephen Gionta, Adam Pelech

Injured: None


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Blake Comeau -- Matt Duchene -- Rene Bourque

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Jarome Iginla 

Joe Colborne -- John Mitchell -- Cody McLeod

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Eric Gelinas -- Nikita Zadorov

Patrick Wiercioch -- Cody Goloubef

Calvin Pickard

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Mikhail Grigorenko, Andreas Martinsen

Injured: Francois Beauchemin (illness), Erik Johnson (broken fibula)


Status report

Gelinas will replace Beauchemin after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Varlamov took part in the morning skate and will dress for the first time since injuring his groin against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 22. 


Who's hot

Ladd has four goals and an assist during a four-game point streak. Nelson has two goals and two assists in his past two games. Lee has five goals and an assist in the past six games ... Barrie has a goal and six assists in the past six games.

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