Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Anaheim Ducks

The Isles defeated the Ducks 4-3 on December 13th at UBS Arena.

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders
Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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BSSC, BSSD, MSGN. March 10, 2024. Isles at Ducks. 23-37-3. 28-20-14. 106. 105. . 8:00 PM EST

The NY Islanders (28-20-14, 70 points) will travel to the 'Duck Capital of the World' as they faceoff with the Anaheim Ducks (23-37-3, 49 points) tonight at the Honda Center.

LAST GAME

The Islanders started their California road trip at SAP Center on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks. The Isles wasted no time in grabbing the lead as Noah Dobson scored 19 seconds into the game. After a back-and-forth first period that saw the Isles outshoot the Sharks 12-to-9, Alexander Romanov scored with 1:30 remaining on a slapshot set up by Bo Horvat.

The second period started with Horvat taking a hooking penalty. This was followed by Thomas Bordeleau scoring on a tip-in shot from William Eklund. Midway through the frame, Horvat made up for his hooking call by stealing the puck from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and scoring his 25th goal. Just 25 seconds later, Mike Hoffman scored on a turnover from Pierre Engvall. The game continued its back-and-forth nature as Kyle MacLean responded 15 seconds later with an impressive goal from the far right corner. The Isles kept the momentum as Mathew Barzal and Sebastian Aho each netted one past Magnus Chrona, marking 4 goals scored by the team in just 5:01.

The Isles tampered with their momentum in the third period. The frame started with penalties given to Aho and Mikael Granlund for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct. After Ilya Sorokin made heroic saves against Jan Rutta and Nico Sturm, Filip Zadina took a 4-minute minor penalty for high-sticking Romanov. Anders Lee took advantage of the powerplay by scoring on a wrist shot from the far right corner that hit off the pad of Chrona. This goal completed the Islanders' offensive outburst as they defeated the Sharks 7-2.

The Ducks' last game came against the Dallas Stars on Friday at the Honda Center. The Stars were all over John Gibson early as Chris Tanev scored just 1:14 into the game on a wrist shot from Roope Hintz. Following a late first-period holding penalty on Bo Groulx, Hintz netted one of his own to make the game 2-0. Less than 2 minutes later, Radek Faska scored on a tip-in shot from Sam Steele, marking the team's 20th shot on goal. Despite a second-period goal from Ryan Strome, the Ducks never came back in this game. Jamie Benn, Mason Marchment, and Joe Pavelski each scored a goal in assuring the Stars a 6-2 victory in Anaheim.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

The last matchup between the Islanders and Ducks came on December 13th at UBS Arena. The game opened with Gibson making three tremendous saves against Horvat. On his third shot attempt, Mike Reilly kicked the rebound past Gibson in what seemed like a 1-0 Islanders lead. However, the goal was called back on goaltender interference and the game remained scoreless through the first period.

The Isles wasted no time getting that goal back in the second period as Kyle Palmieri scored on a turnover created by Hudson Fasching. 6 minutes later, Casey Cizikas scored on an odd-man rush with Cal Clutterbuck and Fasching. However, the Ducks responded just a minute later as Troy Terry took advantage of Samuel Bolduc's interference penalty and scored on the powerplay. The Ducks kept the momentum as Adam Henrique tied the game on a tip-in shot from Urho Vaakanainen.

The third period opened with Simon Holmstrom missing a wide-open net set up by J.G. Pageau. Just moments later, Sam Carrick scored on a turnover by Robert Bortuzzo in the neutral zone. However, Cam Fowler would then take a tripping penalty. This led to Barzal scoring on a slapshot from Horvat. After failing to take advantage of Jakob Silfververg's delay of game penalty, Bortuzzo was put in the box for tripping. With less than 2 minutes remaining, Pageau won the defensive zone faceoff and rushed up the ice with Holmstrom. This would lead to the 23-year-old 4th shorthanded goal and an Isles 4-3 victory.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

The Isles are coming off a dominant offensive performance that saw Horvat and Brock Nelson record 3 points. Barzal has recorded points in 14 of his last 15 games. The captain has also heated up, credited for 2 goals and 3 assists in the last 5 games. The tandem of Aho and Reilly has performed much better in their second go-around, rating a plus-6 in the last 4 games. With the team, just 2 points back of both wild-card spots and 4 points behind third place in the Metropolitan Division, keep an eye on the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Ducks had an active trade deadline, sending top centerman Henrique along with Carrick to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2024 first-round and a 2025 fifth-round draft pick. 21-year-old Mason McTavish now becomes their top centerman with 17 goals and 23 assists. Frank Vatrano is their best goal scorer with 29 this season, followed by Terry with 17. The Ducks' struggles have come behind the crease as the tandem of Gibson and 23-year-old prospect Lukas Dostal have a combined .901 save percentage. Former Islander Strome has yet to find his offensive game on the West Coast as he is on pace for a near career-low in goals with just 10. Ross Johnston has also become a regular on the Ducks' fourth line.

PROJECTED LINES

ISLANDERS

Brock Nelson - Bo Horvat - Mathew Barzal
Anders Lee - J.G. Pageau - Kyle Palmieri
Pierre Engvall - Casey Cizikas - Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin - Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Sebastian Aho

Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov

DUCKS

Max Jones - Mason McTavish - Alex Killorn
Frank Vatrano - Ryan Strome - Brett Leason
Pavol Regenda - Isac Lunderstrom - Jakob Silfverberg
Ross Johnston - Bo Groulx - Glenn Gawdin

Cam Fowler - Olen Zellweger
Pavel Mintyukov - Radko Gudas
Urho Vaakanainen - Gustav Lindstrom

John Gibson
Lukas Dostal