The New York Islanders face a huge challenge going up against the high powered offensive unit that the Colorado Avalanche run out on their top line.
At this point it’s not really up for a debate, the Colorado Avalanche have the best top line in the NHL right now. The New York Islanders are tasked with the responsibility of slowing down the league’s best offense and it for sure will be a challenge.
Mikko Rantanen, Nathan Mackinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog make up a young, fun, and a super efficient line for the Av’s. It’s not just one guy that is carrying the rest, they all have incredible numbers just 33 games into the season.
Starting on the wing with Rantanen, he’s having a very productive age-22 season. After an impressive 84 points last year, Rantanen is on pace to shatter that mark with a whopping 56 points so far this year.
56 points in 33 games puts Rantanen on pace for a 139 point season. That would be the highest point total since Mario Lemieux in 1995-1996. It’s insane when you think about the kind of heater this kid is on.
Once you get past Rantanen you move onto the center, Nathan MacKinnon. After a career high of 97 points, MacKinnon has 52 so far this year. That puts him on pace for 129 points over a full 82 game season.
It took the first overall pick from 2013 a bit to get going consistently but he’s finally reaching his full potential and we’re seeing him currently center the best line in the sport.
Finally, there’s the veteran of the group, Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog is 26, and has been in the league since 2011. With 62 points last year, Landeskog was very effective of course, but not nearly at the level he is now.
With 40 points in 33 games, Landeskog is ready to break career records. If he maintains this pace he’d finish with a measly 99 points this season. The last time a team had three players over 100 points was 1995-1996 when the Penguins had Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Ron Francis.
Tonight, the Islanders are tasked with slowing down this historic line. It won’t be easy, even for a team that has improved so much defensively.
If this was last season, you could pencil in at least 5 goals for the Avalanche tonight, but since Barry Trotz has taken over and the defense first mindset is in place, the Isles may have a shot.
The Isles average just 2.8 goals per game while the Avalanche average 3.7 goals per game. It’s going to be a difficult task, but don’t count out the Islanders tonight on the road in Colorado.