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Islanders vs. Avalanche: Resuming the march with basement battle

The Islanders come off a break to begin a busy January in Denver.

NHL: New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche
See folks, you can still be entertained even by bad hockey.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders, in the middle of one of their strongest stretches of a disappointing, took a few CBA-mandated days off to start 2017.

Thus, this weekend of back-to-back Western road games represents their first games of the new year. It’s part of five games and two road back-to-backs over the next nine days, a stretch of the schedule that will start catching them up on a league schedule where everyone but two teams has played at least two more games than the Isles.

Tonight they visit the Colorado Avalanche, who at 12-25-1 are suffering through a far more miserable season. (Seriously...twenty-five regulation losses in 38 games!)

So, we have a true clash of basement dwellers, with the least of the East vs. the festering bottom of the West.


The Isles will go with the same lineup they had in finishing 2016 with a 6-2 win in Winnipeg: Thomas Greiss in goal, Anthony Beauvillier a healthy scratch joined by Bridgeport callups Adam Pelech and Stephen Gionta in the pressbox.

If you blacked out in the intervening days, that means lines looking like this:

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey
Shane Prince -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

For Avalanche news, check Mile High Hockey, which projects Colorado lines like so, with Francois Beauchemin a scratch due to illness:



They also expect the Avs to play their last game before their own bye week with Calvin Pickard getting his seventh consecutive start, with Semyon Varlamov returning from injury to sit on the bench.

How to Self-Inflict

This game is deservedly relegated to MSG+2 (twice the plus!). On radio, it’s 970AM - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, or 103.9FM - LI News.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 9 p.m. EST.