The NY Islanders welcome the Colorado Avalanche to UBS Arena on Saturday night as they've seemingly begun to turn a corner stringing back-to-back wins together against some pretty formidable opponents in the NY Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Islanders traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Josh Bailey's 1,000 NHL game, all with the Isles. Ilya Sorokin received his second straight start after blanking the Rangers on Wednesday in a 41-save performance. The 27-year-old goaltender was equally as impressive in his win against the Hurricanes despite allowing two goals, making 35 saves on 37 shots. He was a perfect 7/7 on the penalty kill helping extend the Islanders' kill 28/28 penalties taken so far this season. Sorokin finished the game with a .943 SV%.
The Islanders opened the scoring on a beautiful pass from Mathew Barzal to Oliver Wahlstrom who roofed one past Frederik Anderson for the 1-0 lead. The Islanders head coach, Lane Lambert, has put the duo together for a few games in a row now and stated his pleasure with the chemistry, going on the record to say he's noticed "a little something there."
The Hurricanes fought back, but Matt Martin made Carolina pay for a mistake when he found the puck on his stick after a turnover and gave the Islanders the 2-1 lead. Brent Burns tied things at two quickly after Martin's goal, however, on Bailey's honorary night, he dazzled in the Hurricanes zone and scored a highlight reel goal to give the Islanders their third lead of the game.
Brock Nelson added two goals for insurance in the third period, and Zach Parise deposited a goal on the empty net. The Islanders left Carolina with a 6-2 victory and now have eight points in eight games.
The Avalanche took on the New Jersey Devils at the Pruential Center last night. The Avalanche couldn't solve Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek who posted 24 saves in the shutout effort. Pavel Francouz made 22 saves on 23 shots, but couldn't fend off a power play goal by Jack Hughes. Cale Makar led all Avalanche skaters in TOI at 25:49.
The Islanders met the Avalanche twice in the 2021-22 season and were swept in the season series by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions. Nathan Mackinnon wrecked havoc against the Islanders scoring two goals and four points between the two meetings, meanwhile former Islanders defenseman, Devon Toews, matched Mackinnons exact output against the Islanders last season.
The Islanders are 42-40-4-3 all-time against the Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov, tonight's likely starter, is a career 1-2-0 in his career against his former club, however owns a .927 SV% and 2.75 GAA. In 16 career games against the Avalanche, Nelson has scored four goals and 10 points.
The Avalanche's likely starter in net tonight is Alexandar Georgiev, former netminder for the Rangers. Historically, Georgiev plays very well against the Islanders with an 8-3-0 record, .935 SV%, 1.96 GAA, and two shutouts.
Players to watch
The Islanders come into tonight's contest having scored eight goals in the last two games. Bailey has had a decent amount of success against the Avalanche in his career scoring 12 points in 19 career games against Colorado. He's currently on a two-game goal streak and has looked strong as of late. He'll look to continue his strong play in game 1,001.
The Avalanche had Georgiev likely starting for them and he's been lights out against the Islanders in his career.
Josh Bailey- Mat Barzal- Oliver Wahlstrom
Anders Lee- Brock Nelson- Anthony Beauvillier
Zach Parise- JG Pageau- Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech- Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov- Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho- Scott Mayfield
Artturi Lehkonen-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen
Evan Rodrigues-Alex Newhook-Martin Kaut
Andrew Cogliano-JT Compher-Logan O'Connor
Jacob MacDonald-Mikhail Maltsev-Dryden Hunt
Devon Toews-Cale Makar
Bowen Byram-Josh Manson
Samuel Girard-Erik Johnson
Per Peter Bough, The Athletic