Mikkel Boedker
Islanders-Coyotes Preview
Mikkel Boedker

Islanders-Coyotes Preview

Published Dec. 18, 2015 6:44 p.m. ET

The New York Islanders are seeking a quick offensive turnaround when they complete a short western road trip, and they appear to have a good chance against their next opponent.

The Arizona Coyotes have been the NHL's worst defensive team this month and will be attempting to recover from their most inferior performance of the season Saturday night.

New York (18-10-5) is looking to avoid losing three straight for the first time in six weeks, held to one goal in each of the past two games despite having 34 shots in each.

"At the end of the day, you've got to score more than one goal if you're going to win in the NHL," coach Jack Capuano said after Thursday's 2-1 loss at Colorado. "I want to score some goals. We've played pretty sound defensively, but we've got to find a way.


"Certain guys on the back end, our defensemen, are not even close to the points we had last year. They've got to get more involved in the offense, and we need some forwards to step up as well."

Nick Leddy led Islanders defensemen with 10 goals last season but has none through 33 games. Travis Hamonic tops New York in ice time but doesn't have a point in 11 straight games, and fellow blueliner Johnny Boychuk has no goals and two assists in his last 14.

Making matters worse, points leader Kyle Okposo will miss the next two games with a nagging lower-body injury.

The Islanders will finish their two-game trek out west by taking on a team that's given up 4.6 goals per game while going 1-6-1 this month.

Arizona (14-15-2) gave up its highest goal total at home since 2010 in a 7-5 defeat to Columbus on Thursday. It was the Coyotes' first home loss in regulation since Nov. 7 and second in a row after five straight wins.

Anders Lindback gave up four goals on 10 shots in his third consecutive start in place of Mike Smith, who is expected to miss at least seven more weeks because of a lower-body injury. Louis Domingue allowed two goals on 10 shots in his first NHL appearance this season, spoiling the Coyotes' highest-scoring game in 2015-16.

"We're at the point right now where we're giving away easy goals," forward Jordan Martinook said. "Pretty much every goal that (the Blue Jackets) got was a mistake and a breakdown in our coverage. It's just something that we're dealing with right now and we need to correct it going forward."

Lindback has a 4.08 goals-against average in five games this month and has lost four straight to the Islanders. He allowed four goals in a 5-2 defeat to New York on Nov. 16 in the first of this season's two meetings.

Brock Nelson, who has both of the Islanders' goals in the past two games, had the first of New York's four third-period goals against Arizona and John Tavares scored two.

The Islanders have won the past three meetings, totaling 10 goals in the last two as Nelson had a goal and an assist in each. Tavares has five goals and five assists in eight lifetime matchups with the Coyotes but has one point in his last seven games.

Arizona's Mikkel Boedker has three goals and four assists in seven career games against the Islanders and scored in last month's meeting.

New York, 10-3-1 against Western Conference teams, is 26 for 26 on the penalty kill in its last 11 games.


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