The Islanders performed admirably in two tough road games without John Tavares and James Wisniewski but have only last night's OTL point to show for it. This Streit-less and Okposo-less roster's margin of error is simply thin, so the return of both Tavares and Wisniewski is welcome news.
But here's a question: Can Tavares step in from his concussion and play as well in the pivot as Josh Bailey has in the three-plus games since Tavares went down? Does Bailey go immediately back to wing, or do they try something else?
Colorado Avalanche (3-1-0) @ New York Islanders (1-1-2)
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7 p.m. | MSG+2 (twice the plus, half the reception!), WHRU 88.7
I don't mind the sun sometimes, the images it shows: Mile High Hockey
The Avalanche won 3-2 last night in Newark against Ilya & The Various Remaining Contracts. Colorado is 3-1 with the help of a shootout win (Detroit) and an OT win (Chicago), but like last year they are generally being outshot thus far (32 for per game, 36.8 against per game). Also like last year, Craig Anderson's heroics (like last night) have made that not such a big deal. (...yet?)
The Islanders, also one of last year's severely outshot teams, have thus far reversed that form (31.8 shots/game to 27.5 SA/game). Should be interesting to see which team controls play tonight.
It would appear from Vic Ferarri's head-to-head data from the Avs-Devils game that Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene each had decent even-strength time against Kovalchuk and Parise, etc. So I'm not sure if there are ideal matchups for Scott Gordon or whether he'll try to get Frans Nielsen out against one line or the other.
The wild card here is what form Tavares has after being out all week from that concussion, as well as what position Bailey takes. Would he dare a Bailey-Tavares-Comeau line to maintain the Comeau-Bailey chemistry? Or does JT slide right back in and P.A. Parenteau retain a slot there? And Trent Hunter looked banged up in the third but was still skating -- is he a go for tonight?
On defense, the assumption has to be that Hillen (9:00 TOI last night) goes back to the pressbox. Tempting as it may be, it's too early to send Milan Jurcina to the woodshed, and Hillen hasn't exactly made a statement with his play (not that he's had much chance). That situation will sort itself out.
In goal...surely Dwayne Roloson, after Rick DiPietro played last night and took several hits that the most juvenile of Penguins fans actually claimed were dives. (Again: You employ Matt Cooke!) But life's too short -- and too long -- to delve further into the whining of illiterates. Pass.
- If you want to go to tonight's game, remember they're doing the retro $19.72 promo.
- Did you see Anders Lee's hat trick debut for Notre Dame made him CCHA Rookie of the Week? [FanShot]
- Relative newcomer (to blogging) and solid read Wonce Again Long Island with a good recap
- NYIFYI with the yin and yang of the refs' performance last night. [NYIFYI]
- Game report from Pittsburgh Trib Review
- Wow did the Rangers take a couple of injury hits in their OT loss to Toronto. [NYT]
- Oh, you don't care, but I've mentioned the two Peter Stastny jerseys I have and they are the ones pictured here at Mile High Hockey. It's pretty cool his son wears #26, too. The story of the Stastnys' defection from Iron Curtain-shrouded Czechoslovakia was a big story in my house.
The Wiz is back, the powerplay should be better: The Islanders need to grab this one from a team that's on a long road trip. Let's-go Isl-an-ders!