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Preview: New York Islanders vs Anaheim Ducks

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The New York Islanders will look to snap their current three game-losing streak when they face the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night in Anaheim. This game will be the Islanders’ second of their five game West Coast road trip which has resulted in two losses thus far.

I’m sure many Islander fans are thinking back to last season when the Ducks beat the Islanders 5-2. The Islanders got off to a solid start with a 2-1 lead but it did not last. The famous collapse which started late in the second period as the Islanders ended up losing behind a poor performance from former Islander goaltender Anders Nilsson. The Islanders also fell to the Ducks at home with a 5-3 loss later in the season.

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This time, the Islanders defense should be better able to compete with Ducks stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Getzlaf and Perry are considered by many to be the best one-two punch in the NHL and that was evident last year when they combined for nine points against the Islanders in two games. Anaheim is middle of the pack in goals per game this season, averaging 2.69, which is good for 14th in the NHL. They are lead by Getzlaf, Perry, and newcomer Ryan Kesler who was acquired from the Canucks this offseason. The Islanders end up catching a big break with Ducks’ goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson both out with injury. Anderson has the best save percentage in hockey and holds a 7-1 record.  Gibson is regarded as one of the Ducks best prospects, and has played well this season. This means the Islanders will most likely be seeing Jason LaBarbera who has bounced around the NHL during his long career.

The Islanders need to take advantage of LaBarbera and score goals, which they have struggled to do recently, managing only one in past two games. John Tavares has also been in a bit of a funk recording only one point in his past six games. This would be a perfect way for Tavares to get rolling again, going up against a career minor leaguer in net. It is expected that Jaroslav Halak will get the call for the Islanders and hopefully they will get a similar performance to his last outing this week in San Jose. Also, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday, it looks like Nikolay Kulemin will play on the Islanders’ 1st line. I like the move due to the fact Tavares and Okposo have struggled in their own zone and Kulemin is known for his solid two-way game.

Hopefully the Islanders can snap the losing streak and gain confidence against the 1st place Anaheim Ducks.

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