National Hockey League
Preview
NY Islanders at Colorado
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 30, 2014
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado


The New York Islanders are off to a fast start with six wins in nine contests, but begin a brutal portion of the schedule when they kick off a five-game road trip at the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. The Islanders play seven of their next eight away from home, including five straight against Western Conference opponents. "These are elite teams, teams that you guys have picked to probably get to the Stanley Cup final," New York coach Jack Capuano said. "It's always a good measuring stick for us."

Unlike last season, when Colorado jumped out to a league-best 12-1-0 start, the Avalanche have stumbled out of the gate with only two wins in their first 10 games - including four defeats that have come in overtime or a shootout. Aside from a 7-3 bludgeoning of Vancouver last Friday, its only win in the last six games, Colorado has been unable to get untracked offensively with two goals or fewer in seven of the 10 contests. The Avalanche have lost five one-goal decisions during their current 1-2-4 stretch.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, MSG Plus (New York), Altitude (Colorado)

ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (6-3-0): New York fortified its defensive corps by acquiring Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy and thought its goaltending issues were solved after signing Jaroslav Halak to a four-year deal, but the veteran netminder has permitted at least three goals in five of his six starts. “We lost the game, and the bottom line is I have to be better,” Halak told reporters after Tuesday's 4-3 home loss to Winnipeg. “I just need to play better and be sharper.” The Islanders are averaging 3.78 goals per game - second in the league to Pittsburgh - and own the league's fifth-ranked power play (25.7 percent).

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (2-4-4): Colorado needs to tighten up its defense after netminder Semyon Varlamov faced 51 shots - 41 in the first two periods - on goal in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to San Jose. "Sure it shows how good he is and sure it shows how well he played tonight, but it also showed how we left him hanging and we didn’t play well enough in front of him," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. Colorado turned the momentum after coach Patrick Roy juggled his lines and put Landeskog with Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly in the third period, and the result was a bevy of scoring chances by the trio.

OVERTIME

1. The Islanders have the league's second-worst penalty-kill, surrendering 10 goals in 31 short-handed situations.

2. Avalanche F Alex Tanguay has four goals during a six-game point streak.

3. The teams split two matchups last season, the away team winning each time.

PREDICTION: Islanders 3, Avalanche 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
NY Islanders 6-3-0-0 L1 3-2-0-0 3-1-0-0 0-0-0-0 6-3-0-0 3-1-0-0
Colorado 2-4-3-1 L2 1-1-1-1 1-3-2-0 1-0-1-0 1-4-2-1 ---
Last Meeting
NY Islanders Colorado
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
2/8/14 COL 5 NYI 2 33 21 2-6 25 31 0-3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
NY Islanders L. Visnovsky 2
Colorado T. Barrie 3
Goals Player  
NY Islanders J. Tavares 1
Colorado M. Duchene 2
Assists Player  
NY Islanders J. Bailey 1
Colorado T. Barrie 3
Saves Player  
NY Islanders E. Nabokov 21
Colorado J. Giguere 31
Season
Total Points Player  
NY Islanders B. Nelson 14
Colorado M. Duchene 11
Goals Player  
NY Islanders B. Nelson 7
Colorado G. Landeskog 5
Assists Player  
NY Islanders J. Tavares 10
Colorado T. Barrie 8
Saves Player  
NY Islanders J. Halak 207
Colorado S. Varlamov 244
Quickchart Matchup
NY Islanders Off vs  Colorado Def
3.78 GF
3.1 GA
32 Shots
35.8 Shots
9 PP
4 PK
Colorado Off vs  NY Islanders Def
2.2 GF
3.44 GA
30.2 Shots
30.3 Shots
5 PP
10 PK