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.
After picking up four of six points in three games in four nights, the New York Islanders head in to the week of Thanksgiving riding high. Despite the tough defeat yesterday to Carolina, the team has continues to play hard and pick up points when need be. Going in to another three game in four nighter — their second one in 11 days — it’s crucial the Isles keep their nose to the grindstone and head in to Decmeber with more confidence.
This week, it will be another home-and-home, something the Islanders are seeming to get used to, while a trip north of the boarder is also in the cards. So not only will all of the Isles faithful be getting stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie, but plenty of hockey as well.
Wednesday: Vs Philadelphia Flyers
In what has become a franchise tradition, the Islanders will play host on Thanksgiving Eve, this time it will be the Philadelphia Flyers in a juicy matchup. Wednesday will be the first of five meetings between the two teams, including when they meet 45 hours later in the city of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia took the season series from New York a year ago 3-1, including one win in overtime and one win in a shootout at Barclays Center.
Despite the excellent play of Jakub Voracek, the Flyers have struggled as of late, while the Islanders have won nine of their last 14 contests. At home the Isles have yet to lose in regulation. Claude Giroux has 42 points in 41 games against New York in his career.
Matchup to watch: The Islanders bottom two forward lines against the young Flyers defense.
X-Factors: Sean Couturier, Anders Lee
Friday: At Philadelphia Flyers
While everyone is out shopping, the Islanders will find themselves at Wells Fargo Arena for a late afternoon matinee. New York has yet to find consistency on the road at 5-7-0, but a pivotal division matchup in a hostile environment could be just what the doctor ordered. Philadelphia has not played particularly well at home, so Friday’s tilt can also be in the Isles favor depending on the outcome Wednesday night.
And after these two teams face off, there should be no love lost.
Matchup to watch: Mathew Barzal against Nolan Patrick. The battle between two of the league’s top rookies should make for an entertaining affair.
X-Factors: Ivan Provorov, Johhny Boychuk
Saturday: At Ottawa Senators
After the Isles finish their game in Philly, they’ll head to Canada’s capital for a big Eastern Conference tilt with the Sens. Ottawa is has struggled at home since the season began, so the Islanders should look to take advantage, but could be tough being it’s a back-to-back scenario. The Senators dominated the season series between the two teams in 2016-17, with the only Isles win coming in a meaningless affair in the last game of the regular season.
Ottawa is led by the always dangerous Erik Karlsson who already has 17 points this season. The Isles counter with Nick Leddy who has played to the same level this year, amassing 16 points.
Matchup to watch: Matt Duchene against John Tavares. I made this the key matchup to watch when these two met in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. That wasn’t the case as Duchene was dealt early in the game, leaving a must see battle off the bill.
X-Factors: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Casey Cizikas