Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. New York Islanders: 11/05/2014

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Concluding a four game road trip with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche, the Anaheim Ducks return home for another homestand. After going 4-1-0 over their first five home games, the Ducks return to Southern California to take on a New York Islanders squad expected to be much better than they were a season ago. The Ducks currently sport a stellar 10-3-0 record for the season, and their 20 standings points currently are the most in the NHL. The Islanders, despite finishing with the fifth worst record in the NHL last season, are a team loaded with great young talent at the forward spots. Like Anaheim’s last two opponents, Dallas and Colorado, New York boasts terrific offensive prowess. The Ducks won both meetings last season by a combined score of 10-5.

For the Ducks, no real lineup changes appear to be in order. Corey Perry leads the NHL with 11 goals in 13 games this season. Last season Perry scored five points against the Islanders, including a pair of goals. Ryan Getzlaf scored his second career hat trick in his last meeting with the Islanders, a 5-3 comeback victory last December. Dany Heatley may draw in for Emerson Etem, who has zero points while playing in all 13 games this season. William Karlsson and Rickard Rakell are continuing their battle for the center position, and either one of them could draw in tonight. Kyle Palmieri is about two weeks away from being able to return to the lineup, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau.

According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, here are the expected lineups for both teams tonight.

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Patrick Maroon – Getzlaf – Perry
Andrew CoglianoRyan KeslerDevante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey – Karlsson – Jakob Silfverberg
Heatley – Nate ThompsonTim Jackman

On the Ducks defense, the same three pairings should be expected, as Anaheim currently is only carrying six defensemen on the active roster. Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm each scored their first goal of the 2014-2015 season against Colorado, with Lindholm tying the game at two apiece before Fowler notched the eventual game-winner. Sami Vatanen, since being moved up to the top pairing with the absence of both Ben Lovejoy and Mark Fistric, has been spectacular. He led all Ducks skaters in total ice time (22:16) and shorthanded ice time (2:14) against the Avalanche.

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Fowler – Vatanen
Lindholm – Francois Beauchemin
Clayton StonerJosh Manson

As for the New York Islanders, they look to snap their three game losing streak while going through the “California road trip” portion of their schedule. This is the third game of a five game road-trip for the Islanders, who have lost to the Avalanche and San Jose Sharks by a combined score of 8-1. The Islanders have not played since Saturday, but they will conclude this five game road trip with three games in four nights, including the second leg of a back-to-back tomorrow night in Los Angeles against the Kings. John Tavares and Kyle Okposo are pacing the top line with four goals and 12 points apiece, while Brock Nelson is continuing his terrific start to the 2014-2015 campaign with six goals and 12 points as well. Offseason acquisitions Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin each have six points as well, giving the Islanders offensive firepower throughout their lineup. The Islanders are tied for 9th in the league with a 20.4% conversion rate on their power-play.

New York Islanders Forward Lines:

Kulemin – Tavares – Okposo
Grabovski  – Frans NielsenAnders Lee
Cory Conacher – Nelson – Cal Clutterbuck
Eric Boulton  – Ryan StromeMatt Martin

The Islanders made waves during the offseason in order to really improve defensively after knowing it had been a weakness of their team for years. Taking advantage of the salary cap situations of the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, Islanders general manager Garth Snow made trades to acquire both Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, respectively, from those two clubs. Both have been excellent, with Boychuk scoring nine points, fourth on the team and most among the Islanders’ blue-liners. Leddy has also chipped in three goals and six points of his own. This will be the first game for Lubomir Visnovsky against Anaheim since the Ducks traded him to the Islanders for a 2nd round pick in 2013 (Anaheim eventually selected Nick Sorensen with the pick).

New York Islanders Defense Pairings:

Leddy – Boychuck
Thomas Hickey – Visnovsky
Calvin de HaanTravis Hamonic

In net, Frederik Andersen (7-1-0, 1.60 GAA, .941 SV%) should be the expected starter, though he was not announced as such. Andersen has been day-to-day with leg tightness. If not Andersen, Jason LaBarbera (1-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .889 SV%) should be expected to get the start. Both goalies are available to play tonight, so Igor Bobkov will not make his NHL debut. For the Islanders, Jaroslav Halak (3-4-0, 3.44 GAA, .891 SV%) should get the start. Garth Snow was aggressive in trying to shore up the goaltending for the Islanders in the offseason as well, acquiring Halak from the Washington Capitals before free agency to try and negotiate a new contract before Halak tested the open market. Halak eventually signed a four year, $18 million deal to stay with the Islanders. Halak won his first three starts with a 2.92 GAA and .900 SV%, but he has dropped four straight decisions, where he has posted a 3.89 GAA and .884 SV%.

Jason Byun is the editor for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.