The New York Islanders will host the Vancouver Canucks in a regular NHL championship clash.
The New York Islanders completed their four-match away tour with a defeat from the Vegas Golden Knights, finishing with a 5-2 score, holding third place in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points. One of the five conceded goals came courtesy of Russian player Dorofeyev. Defender Alexander Romanov, who has played all the season's matches alongside Noah Dobson, has pocketed 3 goals and 6 assists over 39 games. The Islanders have been showcasing average results in recent matches, scoring an average of 3.1 goals per game whilst conceding 3.25. The team's attack, currently sitting 18th in the league, is in dire need of a boost.
Team leader Matthew Barzal has chalked up 37 points, including 10 goals and 29 assists, while defender Noah Dobson has made a crucial contribution with 6 goals and 32 assists. Goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who took over from Varlamov, has been showing promising results, averting 23 out of 27 shots in the last victorious game and 25 out of 30 in the latest match. He is expected to be in the starting line-up for the upcoming game. The Islanders have won 6 out of their last 11 games, despite a 1-3 statistic in their four-match away streak.
The Vancouver Canucks are demonstrating confident results in the current NHL season, occupying leading positions in the league with 55 points. They have won 10 out of the last 14 matches, including a victory over the New York Rangers finished with a 6:3 score. Elias Pettersson marked himself with two goals and two assists in two consecutive games, while Hoglander netted two goals. The Canucks possess one of the league's top attacks, scoring 3.94 goals on average per game. The team's offensive output has been boosted notably by contributions from Boeser, with 25 goals, and Hughes, with 36 assists. Team changes related to injuries include the calling up of Linus Karlsson. Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev have also made a significant contribution, netting 18 goals and executing 22 assists with defender Zadorov currently only having made 2 passes.
The Canucks' goalie play is also on a high level, thanks to Demko, who claimed 20 victories in 28 matches. The third line from Joshua Bluger and Garland scored 33 points in the last 13 games.
The Canucks triumphed in 3 out of the last 5 matches, and in the current season the teams encountered once - on November 16th Vancouver took the upper hand in overtime with a score of 4:3.
I expect the upcoming match to have over 5.5 goals. My forecast is based on Vancouver's incredible goal-scoring proficiency and on the fatigue of Ilya Sorokin, who has appeared in 27 of this season's games, holding seventh place among goalkeepers in terms of matches played. Despite leading the NHL in the number of reflective throws and saves (having dodged 937 throws and making 852 saves), the Islanders conceded 1,371 shots. This puts them third in the league on this indicator, behind only San Jose and Columbus. Given these statistical data, an active play in the attack can be expected, which increases the likelihood that the total number of goals will exceed 5.5.