When the Islanders take the ice tonight, they’ll be hosting the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche re-tooled their roster considerably this summer, swapping out Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot for Nazem Kadri and signing Joonas Donskoi away from the Sharks.
All of these moves have paid immediate dividends in supplementing their already-talented roster with Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, and the NHL’s First Star of the Week, Nathan MacKinnon. So, too, have the maturation of defenseman Samuel Girard and, perhaps most importantly, the promotion of Cale Makar to the NHL. Makar left college last spring and joined Colorado for their playoff run and was an important part of the Avs forcing the Sharks to a seventh game in the second round.
Also key to the Avalanche’s success is that they’ve gotten excellent goaltending from both Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz, the latter of whom we’ll see tonight.
The Islanders, meanwhile, will send out Semyon Varlamov against his old team for his fifth straight start. Thomas Greiss will be back between the pipes tomorrow night against the Devils on the back-to-back in New Jersey.
#Isles Barry Trotz confirms Semyon Varlamov gets the nod vs. his former team, the #Avs, tonight and Thomas Greiss will get tomorrow night's start at #NJDevils— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 6, 2020
One of the rare times in the season Trotz will lay out his goalie plans.
They also appear to be rolling out the same personnel and lines as Saturday night’s game against the Maple Leafs.
Looks same at #Isles morning skate— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 6, 2020
Aho-Johnston skating as an extra D pair
Last chance FIGs go here. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.