The New York Islanders are making headlines off the ice this week with the news that the team had the winning bid for a proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park. While that will mean a return to its roots, New York looks to avoid losing consecutive games at home for the first time this season when it hosts the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
State, team and local officials were on hand Wednesday at the racetrack — home of the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown — for the announcement that the Islanders will be leaving Brooklyn to return to Long Island. Ironically, New York has been among the league’s best home teams this season, with Tuesday’s 6-3 setback to Detroit just its third regulation loss in 15 games at Barclays Center. Anaheim’s six-game road trip has quickly devolved with three consecutive losses since an impressive 3-1 victory at St. Louis to kick off the trek. “I hate to say it but I think we are finding ways to lose hockey games at the moment,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said after Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. “You have to find ways to win games.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Anaheim), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE DUCKS (14-13-8): Anaheim is ranked 29th in the league with an average of 2.6 goals per game, and Tuesday’s loss marked the 17th consecutive game in which the team has failed to produce more than three tallies. Defenseman Josh Manson has collected four assists during a three-game point streak, giving him a career-high 13 assists and boosting his season point total to 16 — one shy of matching last season’s career high. Getzlaf, who returned last week from a six-week absence, is on a four-game point streak.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (18-13-3): The top line of captain John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Anders Lee continues to do the heavy lifting for New York, combining for five points in Tuesday’s loss and a staggering total of 29 over the past six games. Tavares, who is tied with Bailey for the team lead with 42 points and is riding a five-game point streak, has notched five goals and seven assists in 13 career matchups against Anaheim. The Islanders have been hot on the power play, converting five of their last 14 chances.
1. Bailey and Lee each own six-game point streaks.
2. Anaheim posted a 3-2 home win over the Islanders on Oct. 11 to end a four-game losing streak in the series.
3. The Islanders recalled F Shane Prince from Bridgeport, while Anaheim sent F Joseph Blandisi to its AHL affiliate in San Diego.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Ducks 2