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Islanders Gameday News: Heading to the mountains

The Islanders begin a three-game western trip with a stop in Colorado.

New York Islanders v Colorado Avalanche
Let’s really try to win this one, guys.
Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Islanders finished 2023 with a disappointing but not back-breaking 2-2-1 string of games against divisional opponents, including two regulation losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That leaves them in a tie for third with 36 points entering tonight’s action.

Now they head out West, starting tonight in Colorado followed by stops in Arizona and Vegas.

The Avalanche have had a couple of up-and-down stretches this season, but the Islanders conveniently catch them twice while they’re on the upswing. Currently, Colorado’s on a 4-0-1 run and they’re up to 23-11-3 on the season.

A question for tonight (and perhaps the morning skate): Will Pierre Engvall slot back in after his latest random healthy scratch? It feels like he’s one of few held to any kind of standard, when his mobility is helpful even when’s in a rut.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.

Islanders News

  • Previewing tonight: The Identity Line was reunited for the first time since November (what with Matt Martin missing all that time) and Samuel Bolduc got his first goal of the season. The Avs also had someone return for the first time since November: Defenseman Samuel Girard is back after spending that time in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. [Isles]
  • So it’s a tough opponent, as well as adjusting to altitude tonight. [Newsday]
  • The Skinny from the New Year’s Eve loss: It was the 18th straight game Noah Dobson played at least 25 minutes, and his TOI average is now just second in the league to Drew Doughty. Also: “The Isles are 0-13 on the power play in the last five games but have killed 19 of their last 22.” [Isles]
  • The Isles felt they had a good effort Sunday, they just couldn’t solve...Alex Nedejlkovic? [Post]
  • Question & Isles: Which teammate would you take on a road trip? The Identity Line cannot be separated. [Isles]
  • One New Year’s resolution assigned to each of the Islanders. [THN]
  • A look at a couple Isles prospects in the preliminary round of the WJC. [THN]

I tire easily of this guy’s attention-seeking act, but since people will talk about it: Gary Bettman brought up Butch Goring and asked Paul Miss-the-net “What’s that all about?”

Elsewhere

  • Just one game: By all accounts, Seattle threw a great Winter Classic, and the Kraken shut out the Knights, too. [NHL]
  • This Daccord guy shined with a shutout. [Sportsnet]
  • After his time away, Girard says he feels like a new person, right in the body and the head. [TSN]
  • Leafs #goalieproblems continue, they placed Ilya Samsonov on waivers to “remove him from the situation.” Maybe they could swap him for Jack Campbell, yeah? [NHL]
  • Samsonov and Sabres goalie Eric Comrie each cleared waivers, a league-wide message that “Whatever our problem is, that ain’t the answer.” [Sportsnet]
  • But the Leafs insist they have taken a step in the right direction in 2023. [NHL]
  • Marc-Andre Fleury became the fourth goalie to play in 1,000 NHL regular season games. [TSN]