Preview: NY Islanders at Calgary
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2016
The New York Islanders look to take advantage of a soft portion of their schedule when they continue their franchise record-tying seven-game road trip against the struggling Calgary Flames on Thursday. The third contest of the trek versus the Flames marks the first of four straight against teams that have yet to record 60 points on the season.
Frans Nielsen posted his fourth multi-goal performance of 2015-16 on Tuesday as New York notched its second consecutive win and improved to 6-1-1 in its last eight with a 4-1 victory over Minnesota. Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves versus the Wild to improve to 3-1-0 in his last four contests and turned aside all 29 shots he faced in the Islanders’ 4-0 triumph over Calgary on Oct. 26. While New York is ascending, the Flames have dropped two in a row and five of six as they languish near the bottom of the Pacific Division. Forward Johnny Gaudreau extended his point streak to five games (one goal, six assists) by setting up Sean Monahan’s power-play tally in Calgary’s 2-1 setback to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus 2 (New York), RSW (Calgary)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (32-19-7): Captain John Tavares scored a power-play goal and set up another tally with the man advantage versus the Wild to extend his point total to 13 (six goals, seven assists) in the past nine games. New York has made considerable strides on the power play of late, going 8-for-31 in the last nine games, and faces Calgary’s 30th-ranked penalty kill. “The guys are moving the puck, they’re shooting pucks,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “They’re not just looking for the sexy play right now.”
ABOUT THE FLAMES (26-30-3): Joni Ortio deserved a better fate on Tuesday after stopping 35-of-37 shots against the Kings. “He kept us in the game. I thought he was real strong, tracking the puck well,” coach Bob Hartley told the team’s website of Ortio. The 24-year-old Finn could be in line for his fourth start of the season and second versus the Islanders, against whom he made 31 saves in October.
1. New York owns a 16-4-2 record against the Western Conference, including an 8-2-1 mark versus Pacific Division representatives.
2. Flames LW Jiri Hudler, who has notched an assist in back-to-back contests overall, has yet to score a goal in eight career outings with the Islanders.
3. New York has outscored Calgary by an 8-2 margin en route to winning each of the last three encounters.
PREDICTION: Islanders 5, Flames 2