Pregame 10/17: Islanders vs. Oilers
The New York Islanders are in the midst of a four game home stand. The first of these four did not go as planned, as the Islanders surrendered a third period lead. They were eventually defeated in a shootout.
Tonight, the young Islanders are facing off against another young team. The Edmonton Oilers are an up and coming team that have struggled right out of the gate.
The Oilers have come away with only three points in their first seven contests. The team has high expectations. If things don’t turn around soon, there could be some significant changes in store for Edmonton.
They will have their work cut out for them. They will be playing an extremely hungry club in the Islanders. This could be an excellent game for the Isles to break out and go on a bit of a run. They are looking to find their form that got them into the playoffs late in the season last year.
The Islanders will be leaning on a new first line consisting of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner. Grabner provides speed that the first line has been lacking. John Tavares will have plenty of chances to find him flying all over the ice with his crisp passes.
The Oilers are led up front by a collection very high draft picks with lots of potential. Taylor Hall is becoming a star before our eyes. His speed and offensive awareness make him a huge threat to the Islanders defense.
Both of these teams are unstable in between the pipes. The Islanders have been leaning on Evgeni Nabokov to solidify the crease. He has had troubles during the past few games with giving up weak goals. The goaltending duo for the Oilers consists of Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera. Dubnyk was the starter to begin the year but his game has been inconsistent. The starting goaltenders for each team will be Evgeni Nabakov and Devon Dubnyk.
The coaching staff for the Oilers has a tight leash on Dubnyk. The team’s slow start to the season has caused major concern among both the front office and the fan base. There have been rumors circulating about the Oilers making their young and talented forward, Nail Yakupov available for trade.
The Islanders and Oilers have been trading partners in the recent past. In the 2006-2007 season, the Oilers traded their face of the franchise to the New York Islanders. Ryan Smyth helped the Isles clinch a playoff berth.
Tonight should be an exciting matchup between two fast pace hockey teams. They will both be looking to get on the score sheet early and often. It may be too early to say this, but it looks like a must win game for both of these clubs.