The New York Islanders family mourns the passing of club legend, Clark Gillies. News broke just after the 4-0 win last night against the Arizona Coyotes. Gillies was very involved with the current group of players and no doubt left a great impression.
Tonight, the Islanders continue their rise above .500 as they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tavares to their new home. The Islanders are on a three-game winning streak and the Maple Leafs have lost the last two out of three games. One of those defeats came against the Islanders last opponent, the bottom-tier Coyotes.
The Maple Leafs have a high-octane offense and have scored 125 goals on the year. In the last 10 games, the Maple Leafs have scored four or more goals in 8 of those games.
Islanders Goaltending Hot
The Islanders will have a condensed schedule coming up due to make-up games from Covid. This will surely put a strain on the endurance of the players and more specifically, the goaltenders.
Both Ilya Sorokin and Seymon Varlamov have played well of late and are a big reason the Islanders have been able to grab points in many recent contests. Barry Trotz will have his hands full in keeping each keeper fresh in the immediate future.
The Islanders have four games next week and will play the back end of back-to-back games this evening. Normally, the Islanders have the luxury of being able to play each goalie in back-to-backs, while both goalies give the team a chance to win.
Sorokin has been the better player this season and continued his great season last night with his fourth shutout of the season. Who gets the nod in net tonight?
With many games coming up, the natural thought is to not wear out Sorokin by playing back-to-back games. However, it would make a lot of sense to play Sorokin tonight against the high-powered Maple Leafs.
The Islanders need these points and continue a streak as they make up all the games in hand on the rest of the league. After tonight, the Islanders have two days off and can start Varlamov against the Flyers on Tuesday. Right now, Sorokin is the goalie that needs to keep any streak up.
Having played against very winnable opponents of late, the two games that stuck out in the schedule were the Washington Capitals game on January 15th and tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs. Both teams are at the top of their respective divisions. Realistically, the Islanders would need to have won one of those games while taking care of business against the expected wins.
Obviously, the Islanders lost an unspirited effort against the Capitals, but they have taken care of business against the Flyers and Coyotes.
With the hole dug early in the season, every game seems a must win now. Tonight, is a must win game to continue and build a streak with a very winnable game against the Flyers after tonight.