The Islanders look to keep their point-streak alive against a dangerous Wild offense.
After a slow start to the season, the New York Islanders are beginning to look like their usual selves again. They’ve extended their point-streak to seven games, notching three shutouts during that span, and are on a two-game winning streak.
They take on a dangerous Wild team on Sunday night.
The Islanders kicked off the season as one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
They’ve definitely been a defensive-minded group for the past few seasons, but have done their fair share of scoring, which allowed them to become one of the best teams in hockey. That’s why their start to the season was uncharacteristic and a little concerning.
New York’s offense is still below average, but it’s improving and is no longer one of the worst in the NHL. The power play is also below average.
The Islanders’ didn’t even look great in their own zone at first, but it looks like the defense is back to normal. They’re currently a top-five defensive team in the NHL, something much more typical of them.
The penalty kill, also usually one of the best in the game, is improving, too, but still isn’t up to par.
The Minnesota Wild emerged as a surprise team last year. They finished the season as one of the best teams in the league with an unstoppable offense.
Like last season, the Wild still have one of the best offenses in the NHL. The good news for the Islanders is that Minnesota’s power play is below average and not much better than their own.
Some more good news for New York: the Wild have one of the worst defenses and penalty kills in the NHL.
Both the Islanders and Wild come into this game on two-game winning streaks. This matchup will be the second of a back-to-back for both teams, as well.
Wild players to watch:
LW Marcus Foligno
This season: 10 GP, 4 G (1 PP), 8 PTS
C Joel Eriksson Ek
Career vs. Islanders: 5 GP, 1 G, 3 PTS
LW Mats Zuccarello
This season: 6 GP, 3 G, 7 PTS
LW Kirill Kaprizov
This season: 10 GP, 2 G, 10 PTS
RHD Matt Dumba
This season: 10 GP, 1 G, 7 PTS
Career vs. Islanders: 8 GP, 6 A
Foligno is off to a strong start this season. He’s a scoring threat and a player to watch in the Wild’s top-six.
Zuccarello, who has been in COVID-19 protocol, will make his return on Sunday. He’s one of the Wild’s most important players and was off to a fantastic start this season. He’ll look to pick up where he left off.
The most dangerous Wild forward, Kaprizov, is averaging a point per game this season and will be a player that has all of the Islanders’ attention.
Defensively, Dumba is the guy to keep an eye on. Dumba is an excellent defenseman who’s been doing some scoring this season.
He’s never scored a goal against the Islanders but does have six assists in eight career games. The top Wild defenseman is a guy to monitor.
Islanders players to watch:
LW Anders Lee
Career vs. Wild: 12 GP, 4 G (1 PP), 9 PTS
C Mathew Barzal
Career vs. Wild: 5 GP, 1 G, 5 PTS
RW Kyle Palmieri
Career vs. Wild: 17 GP, 5 G (2 PP), 13 PTS
LW Anthony Beauvillier
Season: 9 GP, 3 G (1 PP), 7 PTS
C Brock Nelson
Season: 9 GP, 7 G (1 PP), 9 PTS
LW Zach Parise
Career vs. Wild: 5 GP, 1 PPG, 4 PTS
RHD Ryan Pulock
Career vs. Wild: 4 GP, 1 G, 3 PTS
Each member of the Islanders’ top line has had success against the Wild throughout their careers.
Minnesota native Lee has had trouble scoring so far this season, but this could be the game that gets him going, especially since his linemates have done well against the Wild, too.
The “Killer B’s” are back. The second line has been the Islanders’ best, once again, and could be very dangerous in this game. Beauvillier has had a great start to the season and Nelson is the team’s best forward at the moment, averaging a point per game.
This is going to be a big night for former Wild captain Parise, who’s returning to the place where he spent most of his career. What a story it will be if he can make a statement for his new team against his old.
The sample size is small, but Pulock has done well against the Wild in his career. He’s almost always a threat in that Islanders blue line and this game will be no different.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will make his season debut on Sunday night. Ilya Sorokin has been fantastic in the young season and earned a much-needed rest day.
This is going to be a big game for the veteran netminder. He hasn’t played since last season and won’t have much time to shake off the rust, seeing as he’s facing one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league.