Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche v New York Islanders
Colorado Avalanche v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

isles avs. 103. COL -170. 106. 1/2/24. 23-11-3. 9:00 PM EST. 17-10-9. MSGSN

Last Game

The NY Islanders lost their second game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in five days on New Year's Eve in a low-scoring, 3-1 contest. Samuel Bolduc's first goal of the season was the only marker for New York, while Lars Eller scored two goals for the Pens and the game-winner came from Noel Acciari. Alex Nedeljkovic made 36 saves in the win for Pittsburgh, while Ilya Sorokin made 35 saves in the losing effort. Scott Mayfield also drew back in the lineup for the Isles, logging just about 18 minutes of ice time.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off of a 3-1 game of their own but were on the winning side of it. Valeri Nichushkin's goal at 16:31 of the third period helped lift the Avalanche past the San Jose Sharks. Mikko Rantanen scored a power-play goal in the first period and Josh Manson added the empty netter about two minutes after Nichushkin's game-winner. Nathan Mackinnon's 19-game point streak ended in their game prior, but he got back on the scoresheet with two assists. Alexander Georgiev only faced 11 shots on goal all game, stopping ten of them in the win.

Historical Matchup

Maybe the most memorable and least memorable Islanders games of the 2022-23 season came against the Avalanche last year. The first game was a 5-4 comeback victory for New York when they scored five unanswered goals after being down 3-0 early at UBS Arena. Anthony Beauvillier scored the game-winner on a 2-on-1 right after Mayfield tied the game at three. Most would agree that was the most thrilling regular season victory for New York during the regular season.

The second matchup in Denver was the complete opposite of the first matchup. This game saw both teams go scoreless for 65 minutes, forcing a shootout that eventually gave the Avs the extra point in the standings. Sorokin and Georgiev both earned shutouts on the night, and Evan Rodriguez was the only player who found twine all night, beating Sorokin with a nice deke.

Players to Watch

Former Islander defender Devon Toews has been heating up for the Avalanche lately. After making some controversial yet cryptic comments about some of his teammates thinking they are playing well but not, he has turned his slow start around. Toews is currently on a five-game point streak with one goal and four assists during that time. The former-round pick in the 2014 draft has 21 points in 37 games, a 46-point pace throughout 82 games. Toews remains one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the NHL who can add plenty of scoring, so the Isles will have to keep watch of their former colleague.

Noah Dobson has been arguably the best player this season for the blue and orange, and many fans have pushed the "Norris Dobson" narrative due to his great play all-around in 2023-24. Dobson has 35 points in 36 games and is on pace to shatter his previous season-high total of 51 points in one campaign. He is a big part of the Islanders' power play that is one of the best in the NHL this year rather than being at the bottom of the league like we are used to. All of this comes with Dobson playing over 27 minutes per night regularly while key defenders such as Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, and Mayfield have all been sidelined due to injury. Dobson has had a rough five-game stretch (as has the entire team), only registering two points and was in the minus column in three of those games, so New York needs him to bounce back against one of the best teams in the league.

Projected Lines


Anders Lee - Bo Horvat- Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom - JG Pageau- Julien Gauthier
Hudson Fasching - Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov - Noah Dobson
Samuel Bolduc - Robert Bortuzzo
Mike Reilly - Scott Mayfield

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin

* Adam Pelech is traveling with the team, but has yet to be activated from IR.


Jonathan Drouin - Nathan MacKinnon - Nikko Rantanen
Miles Wood - Ryan Johansen - Valeri Nichushkin
Andrew Cogliano - Ben Meyers - Logan O'Connor
Kurtis MacDermid - Frederik Olofsson - Joel Kiviranta

Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Bowen Byram - Josh Manson
Samuel Girard - Jack Johnson

Alexandar Georgiev
Ivan Prosvetov