The NY Islanders are back home tomorrow night, hosting Connor McDacvid and the high-flying Edmonton Oilers. Since firing head coach Jay Woodcroft in favor of Kris Knoblauch on Nov. 12, the Oilers have been on an upward trajectory from their rough start to the 2023-24 season.
The Isles visited Edmonton in mid-November, drawing the unlucky straw of being the first to face a team following the firing of their head coach. The Isles fell to the Oilers 4-1 in a game that seemed to spark each team into turning their seasons around.
Since that game, Connor McDavid has been tearing up the league, registering a point in every game but one. His 12-game point streak is two more than Bo Horvat's current streak, recording an astounding 31 points.
The question every team has to answer when playing the Oilers, is how do you go about stopping McDavid? The simple answer is you don't, you can only hope to limit the damage.
Missing three of their opening night roster defensemen, the Isles are already at a disadvantage, especially with their top shutdown man, Adam Pelech, being on LTIR.
Having the second change being the home team, Lane Lambert will likely look to have Alexander Romanov on the ice as often as he can against McDavid, as he's currently playing the role of the Isles' top shutdown man. Romanov has been on the ice for 23 goals for and 16 against at even strength this season, the second-best ratio of any Islanders defenseman behind Noah Dobson. Romanov and Dobson will both be logging massive minutes, as they have over the last few weeks.
The key to the game for the Isles will be staying out of the penalty box. The Isles PK is currently the worst in the NHL, succeeding only 70.8% of the time, while the Oilers power play is ranked fifth, clicking at 28.4%.
Tomorrow night will be a good test for the Isles, coming off a dreadful performance against the Montreal Canadiens, as both teams look to keep climbing in the standings.