The New York Islanders put their first winning streak of the 2017-18 season on the line Tuesday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes at the Barclays Center.
The Islanders (4-3-1, 9 points) are the winners of two straight thanks to a shootout win over the New York Rangers on Thursday before skating past the San Jose Sharks, 5-3, Saturday night.
It looks as though captain John Tavares is breaking out of his slump that held him without a point for five games before recording an empty-net goal and two assists against the Sharks.
His linemate, Anders Lee, has picked up the slack with four goals in his last four games, including a pair on Saturday. With five goals this season, the 27-year-old ranks within the league’s top 30 goal scorers.
At 6'3", 231 pounds, Lee provides a big body that does the most damage in front of the opposition’s goal. While he isn’t a playmaker, he is a goal poacher; or the kind of forward that will score by cleaning up rebounds or re-directing shots in front of the net.
Things may be looking up for the Islanders at the moment, but Tuesday night could provide a major trap game for them. The Coyotes have yet to win a game this season, starting out 0-7-1. They are the only team in the NHL that has yet to record a victory or a single point.
But there have been bright spots, most notably in the form of 19-year-old rookie Clayton Keller, who was selected seventh overall in the 2016 draft.
The young American has six goals and two assists through eight games, which is remarkable considering just how bad this Arizona team has been this season.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to start in goal for the Islanders, fresh off a 38-save performance against the Rangers.