The New York Islanders look to continue their recent success this season in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday night against the Wild.
- New York Islanders (5-3-1) 11 points
- Minnesota Wild (2-3-2) 6 points
- Islanders 3-game winning streak on the line
- Minnesota’s Zach Parise to miss about two months
The New York Islanders haven’t had the greatest success against the Minnesota Wild when they have to play at the Xcel Energy Center, where they hold an all-time record of 4-6-1.
Feb. 23, 2016, was the last time that the Islanders walked out of Minnesota with a victory as Jaroslav Halak led the team to a 4-1 win. The last time the two played in Minnesota, former Isles goaltender J.F. Berube took the 6-4 loss.
The Isles are currently coming off of a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes in Brooklyn. The game featured a hat-trick from the captain, John Tavares, and a goal from Scott Mayfield. Mayfield’s tally was the first goal from an Isles defenseman this season. Despite the fact that the lineups for Minnesota have not been announced, it would not be surprising to see the same defense core. Mayfield and Adam Pelech, the two players that rotate in-and-out the most, had strong games against the Coyotes.
On offense, it’s harder to predict what the lines will be because Doug Weight has a tendency to sub out rookie-for-rookie. If Anthony Beauvillier plays, Josh Ho-Sang sits and vice versa. The only time this wasn’t the case was when Cal Clutterbuck sustained an injury on opening night in Columbus.
Ho-Sang won’t be a part of the discussion against the Wild, though, as the team announced Wednesday that it sent him back to Bridgeport. That should make Weight’s decision-making process a bit easier.
The power play has connected in two of the last three games and will look to continue its resurgence against a Wild team that has a perfect penalty kill at home but a 76.7% penalty kill overall. The Wild are still trying to claim a home-ice advantage as they’ve had a road-heavy schedule, playing five of the first seven on the road.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 25, 2017
One thing the Isles need to watch out for is the Wild’s heart. One of their leaders and top scoring threats, Zach Parise, went down with a back injury that required surgery. Other top-six forwards, including former Islander Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, will also miss extensive amounts of time due to a high ankle sprain and broken fibula, respectively.
With the stars down, Chris Stewart has taken a step up and has eight points in seven games.
In addition to Minnesota, the Islanders will travel south to play the defending Western Conference champions, the Nashville Predators. That will conclude their two-game road trip before returning home to have their first meeting ever with the NHL’s 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights.