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.
Monday: vs St. Louis Blues
The Isles will meet the Blues in their first out-of conference game tomorrow for a 1 P.M. matinee. New York split the two games with St. Louis last year, with each game decided by a goal. The Blues come in to Brooklyn having won their first two games of the season against Pittsburgh and Dallas. The Islanders defense containing the Blues high-octane offense will be the matchup to watch, especially with the Islanders having two rookie d-men in the lineup.
X-factor: Vladimir Tarasenko
Wednesday: At Anaheim Ducks
New York will get the California swing out of the way early this season when they face the Ducks in the middle of the week. Both matchups last year were won by the Islanders, one in overtime, one in the shootout. The Isles have won in their last three trips to Honda Center, so they’ll have that on their side as they take the ice. The Ducks steady defense led by Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm going up against the the Isles first line will definitely be something to keep track of the whole night.
X-factor: Jakob Silfverberg
Saturday: At San Jose Sharks
The Isles will get a few days in the sun before they head to the Shark Tank. San Jose took both contests from the Isles a year ago, both times New York letting up late goals in the final minute of the game. The Islanders speed against the Sharks size and physical style is the key to the Isles coming away victorious in what will be a very hostile atmosphere.
X-factor: Brent Burns
Sunday: At Los Angeles Kings
New York will head to Staples Center on the second half of a back-to-back to complete their West Coast swoon. These teams split the two games last season, both ending in a 4-2 result. Anders Lee had four goals in the two games these two teams played last season. The goaltending matchup should be a good one, as Jonathan Quick is still one of the best goalies in the game, and is never an easy out.
X-factor: Anze Kopitar