UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders won't be sitting back overlooking the Edmonton Oilers despite the Oilers' 1-5-1 start to the season. After all, the Isles haven't fared much better. Posting a 2-2-2 record through the first six games, captain John Tavares said that simply doing the right things is no longer enough if the team wants to keep moving forward from its surprising playoff appearance last spring.
"We're a desperate team, too," Tavares said.
After winning two of their first three games, the Islanders have seen an old problem resurface as they have coughed up some late-game leads of late. They want to be careful about doing so against an Edmonton team that possesses a lot of speed and skill throughout their lineup.
The Isles will certainly be keen on pressuring Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk as a key part of their game plan. Dubnyk has struggled in 4 starts, surrendering 19 goals and posting an unsightly 5.43 goals against average and .829 save percentage.
Regardless, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins gave Dubnyk the nod Thursday morning and expressed confidence in the 27-year-old netminder.
"I think he's going to get in there and battle and try to get through the start that he's had. I'm not going to tip-toe around it and neither is Devan. He hasn't played as well as we'd hoped." Eakins said. "I talked to him this morning, he seems to be in a great frame of mind. He's ready to go out there and battle for his teammates."
Rugged forward Colin McDonald returns for the Islanders after missing a game with a lower-body injury and rookie defenseman Matt Donovan draws into the lineup as well after serving as a healthy scratch the last game.