Throughout 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.
Before John Tavares and Josh Bailey head to Tampa for their All-Star festivities this weekend, they and the rest of the New York Islanders still have some business to take care of if they want to head in to the break on a high note. Still on the outside looking in at a playoff spot — but right there in the mix — the Islanders seemed to regain some of their swagger.
New York dismantled the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night 7-3, and played one of their most complete games of the season. They will have to repeat that performance tonight and Thursday in Sin City to keep those good vibes going. The Isles have had success on the road lately, so continuing their strong play, will have them with some momentum when they come back from the break next Tuesday at home against Florida.
Here’s what the Isles are facing this week:
Tonight: at Arizona Coyotes
The Islanders play the second of their three-game trip when they take the ice against the underachieving Coyotes later this evening. Arizona — who was supposed to turn the corner this year — have continued to struggle, sitting once again at the bottom of the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Their one bright spot, rookie Clayton Keller has been one of the best freshmen in the league this year.
New York and the Coyotes already met once this season, with the Islanders prevailing 5-3 back on October 24th where John Tavares recorded his first hat trick of the season. The Isles have won three-straight on the road with Anthony Beauvillier recording seven points in those three contests.
Jordan Eberle will look to extend his goal streak to three games, while the Isles will look to sweep the season series from the Yotes, and win in Arizona for the first time in three years.
Matchup to watch: The Islanders high-powered attack against the Coyotes porous defense.
X-Factors: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan Pulock
Thursday: at Vegas Golden Knights
After a few days of sun, the Isles will play their final game before the All-Star break in Las Vegas. Thursday marks the first time in franchise history, the Isles will play in Sin City.
The Golden Knights are the best story in sports right now, and they have been impossible to beat at home. A monster task facing New York.
These two teams put on a show earlier in the season, with the Islanders coming out on top 6-3. Things have changed a whole lot since that October 30th matchup.
It will be a fun night as a large contingent of the Isles faithful will invade T-Mobile Arena for the first time.
Matchup to watch: The explosive offenses. Number two in goals for versus number three.
X-Factors: William Karlsson, Josh Bailey