The Week Ahead: On The Hunt
New for this season, Our Rob Taub will give his preview of the week ahead for the New York Islanders. There will be what to watch for, and x-factor the Isles will have to key in on for each of their opponents.
After successful victories over the rival New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks, New York seems to be now heading in the right direction. The team is now 4-3-1 and the offense is starting to heat up. With November quickly approaching, the Islanders want to end the month on a strong note and start to climb their way up the standings in the Metro.
The three contests they have this week can be the backdrop to what propels them up them up there.
Tuesday: vs Arizona Coyotes
The Isles will entertain a struggling Arizona squad tomorrow. Last year, the two teams split the season series, with the each team winning on home ice respectively. Arizona went through a boatload of changes in the offseason, but those changes have yet to pay dividends, as they have yet to win a game in regulation.
The Yotes have yet to win on the road going 0-3. But this is the type of game John Tavares and Co. can’t take for granted. This is the one of those early season games that can have the feel of a “trap” game, as the team is coming on a winning streak and is facing a bad opponent.
Matchup to watch: Mathew Barzal vs Clayton Keller
X-Factors: Max Domi, Nick Leddy
Thursday: @ Minnesota Wild
After finishing their short home stand with the Coyotes Tuesday, the Isles will head to the Twin Cities for their sixth road game of the season to face the Wild. Each club was victorious on home ice when they met last year, and they both combined for 19 goals in the two affairs. Safe to say, when these two teams get together, it’s a track-meet.
Minnesota has started slow out of the gate, so they’ll be looking for a win to get them going. For the Islanders, they will have a chance to make it two wins in a row away from Barclays Center.
Matchup to watch: The Wild’s excellent defense against the Islanders third and fourth lines
X-Factors: Devan Dubnyk, Brock Nelson
Saturday: @ Nashville Predators
It will be a very tough test when the Islanders head to Music City for a showdown over the weekend. Nashville is the defending Western Conference Champions, and they’ve turned Bridgestone Arena in to a fortress. Each club triumphed on the road when they met late in the season a year ago. It’s actually crazy to think the Islanders were the last team to defeat the Preds at home until they lost to Anaheim in the Conference Final.
New York will have to be on their A-game against a fast, in-your-face style team in Nashville. And taking the crowd out of the game early, and getting to Pekka Rinne early will benefit them in the long run.
Matchup to watch: Nashville’s top-four defensemen against the Isles speedy forwards
X-Factors: Viktor Arvidsson, Josh Bailey