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 one x-factor for both the Isles and the opposing team they face that night.
We’ve reached the end of the first month of the Islander season. Hard to believe it went by that quickly. But for the Isles, they have played their best hockey the past two weeks winning four of their last five games. John Tavares is scorching hot right now, as is the offense. The power play seems to be getting on the right foot, and the defense and goaltending are getting stronger each game.
New York is beginning to show more consistency, and the three games they have this week will be a good test of what November could have in store for the club.
Tonight: vs Vegas Golden Knights
The Islanders will get their first crack at the newest expansion franchise —the Golden Knights— at Barclays Center this evening. Vegas is a Cinderella story right now with an 8-1-0 record. The Isles will be looking to spoil the party and hand VGK their second loss and first defeat on the road.
Doug Weight’s club will be looking to continue their supremacy of the West on home ice, where they are an unbelievable 22-4-4. They will also try to secure their fifth win out of the last six games, and their third straight win at home. The offense will look to continue their torrid pace after recording 11 goals in the last two games on home ice.
Matchup to watch: The Isles offense against the Golden Knights offense. Both rank in the top ten of goals for per game.
X-Factor: David Perron, Anthony Beauvillier
Thursday: At Washington Capitals
The Isles will begin the month of November —always a very telling month the past few seasons— when they travel to our nations capital later this week for their first tilt with the Caps. Thursday’s game will be the first of four matchups between the two teams, and just third in-division game for New York, after they have split the first two with a loss to Columbus and win against the Rangers. New York won the season series last year 3-2, and winning two out of the three games in D.C.
Washington has struggled out of the gate at home, while the Isles have yet to find their footing on the road, adding another intriguing element to the contest. Alex Ovechkin has 50 points in 46 games against the Isles and always makes for a fun matchup.
Matchup to watch: The always lethal Washington power play going up against the aggressive Islander penalty kill.
X-Factors: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Johnny Boychuk
Sunday: vs Colorado Avalanche
New York will play their first of three Sunday home games all season when they welcome the Avs to Barclays for a late afternoon matinee. The Isles have won their last three contests against Colorado at home, dating back to their final season at the Coliseum. Sunday’s affair will also be the Islanders seventh game against the Pacific Division already this season.
Colorado made their way through the Northeast when the season began, and Sunday will be the second half of a back-to-back, so the Isles — who have three days off before then — should come out guns a blazing. Andrew Ladd has 24 points in 30 career games against the Avs.
Matchup to watch: John Tavares against Matt Duchene. These two were drafted two picks apart in 2009. So anytime they get together, it’s a spirited affair.
X-Factors: Mikko Rantanen, Josh Bailey