Tonight, the New York Islanders (2-0-1, 5 pts) visit the Chicago Blackhawks (1-1-1, 3 pts) in game no. 4 of their 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
When: Tuesday Oct. 8th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Watch: NHL Network
Listen: WRHU 88.7FM, WRCN 103.9FM
Tickets: Islanders vs. Blackhawks tickets
The Isles head to the Windy City to take on last year’s Stanley Cup champions in what will be their toughest test so far this year. New York occupies second place in the Metropolitan Division on the strength of five points in three games played, and is facing its first Western Conference opponent since the 2011-12 season.
The Hawks have struggled slightly in their first three games, winning their season opener against the Washington Capitals, but falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues in back-to-back games thereafter.
Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad are tied for the Blackhawks’ team lead in points (4), but the defense will be the key for Chicago tonight, as they look to stop a New York Islanders offense ranked no. 5 in the NHL in scoring (3.67 GPG).
A win at United Center would do wonders for a young Isles club poised to gain league-wide respect after last year’s hard-fought playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defeating the defending Cup champs in their own building, however, is no easy task; the Hawks posted an 18-3-3 home-ice record in the lockout-shortened 2013-13 season.
What They’re Saying…
We have to finish stronger regardless of the score. We got caught a few times tonight, and they scored two goals off it. We won’t get frustrated, but definitely feel we have some work to do.
Huge test. We’re playing the Stanley Cup champs and they’re champs for a reason. They do a lot of things right. Offensively, they’re the best team in the league to me as far as the skill level they have.
- The Islanders are 6-1-2 in their last nine games against the Blackhawks, including 3-1-1 in their last five games in Chicago
- Fran Nielsen (1G, 4A) is the only Isles player with at least one point in each of the team’s first three games
- John Tavares leads all Islanders with an active streak of 210 consecutive regular-season games played
- Rookie defenseman Matt Donovan scored his first career NHL goal during Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes; Donovan led all AHL defensemen in scoring last season with 48 points (14G, 34A)
26 Moulson – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
12 Bailey – 51 Nielsen – 40 Grabner
96 Bouchard – 16 Regin – 15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin – 53 Cizikas – 13 McDonald
47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic
11 Visnovsky – 14 Hickey
37 Strait – 46 Donovan
Scratches: 36 Boulton, 7 Carkner, 29 Nelson
(Reagan King (@ReaganKingIsles) will be attending the game in a non-official capacity.)