Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Chicago Blackhawks

Nov 1, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) and Chicago
Nov 1, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) and Chicago / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Islanders (19-15-10) finish out their roadtrip in the windy city to take on the Chicago Blackhawks (13-30-2) at the United Center. The Hawks will be without star rookie Connor Bedard who suffered a jaw injury on January 5th.

LAST GAME

The Islanders took on the dominating Winnipeg Jets who have been on an absolute tear through the league. With pasted together lines, its no wonder the team fell 4-2 to the Jets. Gabriel Vilardi opened the scoring midway through the first period, giving the Jets an early lead. Anders Lee tied the game at one with five minutes to play in the period with his first goal of the game. The hockey gods must really hate the Islanders right now, with fleuky goals becoming commonplace with their opponents. At the end of the second period with Winnipeg on the powerplay, name something worse that could have happened but Ilya Sorokin's skate blade popping out mid play. Unable to move side to side, Neal Pionk took advantage of the missing blade and snipped one past Sorokin for the lead. Just two minutes later Mason Appleton scored the game winner to close out the second period.

In the third period, Lee scored his second of the game to bring the struggling Isles within one with over 19 minutes of the period left to play. But, it wasn't enough to stop the Jets, as they couldn't seem to get over whatever hump they're facing and score. Kyle Connor, who made his return to the lineup after missing a number of games with an injury, scored an empty netter to ice the game and continue the Jets dominating of the league. While many thought the teams struggles, losing their last 6 of 8 games, would prompt the firing of head coach Lane Lambert, Lambert remains behind the bench for tonight's matchup.

The Blackhawks are heading into tonight's matchup coming off of a loss just last night against the Buffalo Sabres. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped all 19 shotes faced for his second straight shutout in the Hawks 3-0 loss. The Hawks seem to be struggling worse than anyone else right now. Per Mark Lazerus, they have scored one or zero goals in regulation in 5 straight games, and 8 of their last 10 games. The Hawks seemed to roll over and let the Sabres walk all over them, never even hitting double digits of shots in any of the three periods.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

The first time the Islanders and Hawks faced off last season was back on November 1, 2022 where the Islanders came out on top with a 3-1 win. Lee opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period. Brock Nelson gave the Isles the 2-0 lead, but Jonathan Toews, who has yet to retire but has not played this season, brought the Hawks within one. Zach Parise iced the game with an empty net goal, something the 2023-24 Islanders have yet to score this season. The Islanders consistently outplayed the Hawks, despite having almost tripple the amount of penalty minutes.

Just a month later, the Hawks came to UBS arena where they were shut out 3-0, giving Semyon Varlamov his first shut out of that season. Matt Martin, who has struggled recently with Casey Cizikas' absence, struck first for the Isles. Parise and Nelson both scored in the second period to give the Islanders the win at home. Varlamov stopped all 21 shots faced.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

With Lambert seemingly closing his eyes and just picking lines at random at this point, there needs to be more effort and passion on all ends of the lineup. The Isles are hoping for a spark from center Kyle MacLean who was called up from Bridgeport to take over Cizikas' spot on the fourth line. MacLean is set to make his NHL debut tonight with dad John MacLean behind the bench as assistant coach. While this may seem like a nepotistic pull to those who aren't watching Bridgeport as closely as others, MacLean has earned this spot in the lineup. He fills the exact role that the Isles are missing, playing a game of speed and stregthn and excelling at killing penalties. He's a strong center and can be noted as the most NHL ready player on the Bridgeport team.

Missing a solid amount of their top players like Nick Foligno and Connor Bedard, the Hawks lineup has been incredible lackluster. Petr Mrazek, whos set to start for the Blackhawks, has been pretty good, playing behind lines that haven't playing well at all. This season he has a goals against average of 3.04, better than Sorokins, and a .907 save percentage.

PROJECTED LINES

ISLANDERS

Anders Lee - Bo Horvat – Mathew Barzal Hudson Fasching - Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri Simon Holmstrom – J.G. Pageau – Julien Gauthier Matt Martin – Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov - Noah Dobson Adam Pelech – Scott Mayfield Mike Reilly - Sebastian Aho

Ilya Sorokin Ken Appleby

BLACKHAWKS

Rem Pitlick – Philipp Kurashev– Taylor Raddysh Colin Blackwell – Jason Dickinson – Joey Anderson Lukas Reichel – Mackenzie Entwistle – Cole Guttman Boris Katchouk – Zach Sanford – Reese Johnson

Alex Vlasic – Seth Jones Kevin Korchinski – Jaycob Megna Jared Tinordi – Isaak Phillips

Petr Marazek Arvid Soderblum

Chicago Lines per Daily Faceoff

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