The NY Islanders look to stay hot as they get set to take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Coming off of back to back wins over Metropolitan Division foes in the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, the Islanders offense came alive once again on Saturday night at UBS Arena. This time, against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche. After a scoreless first, the Avs scored three times in the first nine minutes of the second period. Not long after, Noah Dobson provided the offensive spark the Isles were looking for, as he netted his third goal of the season to get his team on the board. In the third period, the Isles’ offense ran with the momentum, scoring four more unanswered to go up 5-3, in what eventually finished as a 5-4 win. Zach Parise, Scott Mayfield, Anthony Beauvillier, and Brock Nelson were each responsible for a third period goal in the comeback win.
After a 4-3 overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, the Blackhawks’ most recent contest had a similar ending. Hosting the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, the two teams went back and forth all night, trading goals. In the third period, the Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead thanks to a highlight reel goal from Andreas Athanasiou, his third red lighter of the year. Unfortunately for Chicago, that lead did not last very long as the Wild tied the game again just 17 seconds later. After neither team could find the back of the net again for the rest of the night, a shootout was needed to determine a winner. Sure enough, for the second straight night, the Blackhawks grabbed a point but failed to get the second.
As they will again this year, the Islanders and Blackhawks met twice in 2021-22. The first meeting saw the Islanders get their first win of the season with a 4-1 victory at the United Center on October 19th. They would meet again at UBS Arena less than two months later. The Islanders received some late game magic off the stick of Dobson as he tied the game with just four seconds left. However, the game would find its way into a shootout and the Blackhawks, behind a Patrick Kane shootout goal, picked up the 3-2 win.
In 117 all-time meetings, the Islanders are 44-47-20-6 against the Blackhawks.
Players to Watch
After not scoring any goals in his first seven games this season, Nelson has found the back of the net three times in the Islanders’ last two contests (two on Friday in Carolina and one on Saturday against the Avalanche). Nelson scored, a both team-leading and personal career high, 37 goals last season and seems to have found his groove this year, so it should be in the Blackhawks’ best interest to keep an eye on where #29 in white is at all times when he’s on the ice.
While I’m sure it’s not just the Islanders that he’s had success against in his career, Kane has 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in just 19 career games against New York. The 33 year old has nine points (2 goals and 7 assists) so far this season and will look to be more involved offensively than he was over the weekend when he notched just one point in two games.