Chicago Blackhawks vs. New York Islanders Pick & Prediction JANUARY 19th 2024

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The New York Islanders will try to salvage a victory from their four-game trip against Central Division foes when they meet the struggling Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

New York has lost four straight on the road overall. The Islanders’ most recent victory away from home was a 5-1 win at Arizona on Jan. 4.

The club last lost four consecutive road games in regulation in November 2021, but defenseman Scott Mayfield believes the Islanders are keeping an even keel.

“I think we’ve all played a good amount of hockey long enough that you can’t let (frustration be a factor),” Mayfield said. “We have a good group of guys in here. I don’t see that happening.”

New York has been outscored 12-3 in losses at Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg. The Islanders are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Jets on Tuesday.

Anders Lee scored twice for New York at Winnipeg, and he called the team’s offensive execution in that contest “a step in the right direction” as compared to the lack of production in a 5-0 loss at Minnesota on Monday.

Ilya Sorokin made 40 saves for the Islanders on Tuesday. He allowed one goal while trying to adjust to losing the blade from his right skate after a puck dislodged it.

“I think we’re in the business of winning hockey games,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “As we’ve done and as we did in early November when we were going through a tough time, nobody’s feeling sorry for you. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve gotta go out and find a way.”

Chicago returns home for the second leg of a back-to-back set. The Blackhawks lost 3-0 at Buffalo on Thursday in a game that was pushed back one day due to inclement weather.

Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen turned aside all 19 shots he faced as the Blackhawks endured their 16th straight road defeat.

“We came out pretty slow, right from the start,” Chicago defenseman Alex Vlasic said. “It felt like nobody had jump, nobody was really ready to go. (The Sabres) like to play a high-flying game, pretty fast-paced, and we played right into that. All-around, we were sluggish the whole game, myself included.”

Chicago has lost nine of 12 (2-8-1) but had been competitive in many of its more recent defeats before Thursday, including narrow losses to playoff-contending Edmonton, Winnipeg and Dallas.

The Blackhawks felt the vibe was different against the Sabres. Although backup goaltender Arvid Soderblom stopped 28 shots and allowed only one goal through two periods, the Blackhawks’ attack slumped again.

Chicago has scored a total of five goals in the past five games as the team contends with numerous injuries, including the fractured jaw that is sidelining star rookie and leading scorer Connor Bedard. The Blackhawks’ lone victory this month came Tuesday, a 2-1 shootout win against the league’s worst team, the San Jose Sharks.

“(We need) a little simpler, direct approach on offense,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said after the Thursday loss. “We need to shoot pucks when we have that opportunity. There were a couple line rushes or two-on-one (rushes) where we decided to make an extra pass, and that was just fortunate for them and unfortunate for us.”

The Islanders are 4-1-2 in their past seven games against the Blackhawks.

–Field Level Media

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