New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick & Prediction JANUARY 9th 2024

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Ilya Sorokin looks at playing the position of goaltender as if he’s playing cards.

Now the New York Islanders will attempt to ensure he doesn’t have to try and master 52-card pickup against the highest-scoring team in the NHL.

The Vancouver Canucks will look to continue their robust goal-scoring ways Tuesday night when they continue a season-long seven-game road trip by visiting the Islanders in Elmont, N.Y.

The Islanders have been off since Saturday night, when they completed a four-game road trip by falling to the Vegas Golden Knights, 5-2. The Canucks will be completing a back-to-back set after beating the New York Rangers 5-3 on Monday night.

Sorokin has played in 27 games this season, tied for seventh-most amongst goalies, but he leads the NHL in both shots against (937) and saves (852). The Islanders have allowed 1,371 shots overall, third-most in the league behind only the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets, each of whom are in last place in their respective divisions.

“I think the league has gone on a little bit of throwing a lot at the net,” Islanders captain Anders Lee told Newsday after practice Monday morning. “If they’re high-danger, then it’s an issue. From the outside, don’t care too much about it. I don’t think there’s anything to it other than we can try to eliminate more and get in shot lanes.”

With backup Semyon Varlamov out due to a lower-body injury, Sorokin is all but ensured of remaining the last line of defense against the Canucks, who lead the NHL with 154 goals, as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are slated to visit the Islanders on Thursday night. The Maple Leafs entered Monday tied for ninth in the NHL with 129 goals.

“It’s like a card game,” Sorokin told Newsday. “There’s never a choice of cards, but you always want to play a good game. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s 16 (shots) or 40. My job is I should be ready.”

The Canucks’ prolific offense has been impressively efficient. Vancouver leads the NHL in goals despite ranking just 26th in shots with 1,127.

The Canucks began their road trip with a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues last Thursday before racking up 69 shots in consecutive wins over the New Jersey Devils, whom Vancouver defeated 6-4 on Saturday, and the Rangers.

Elias Pettersson had his second straight two-goal game Monday for the Canucks while J.T. Miller, who scored twice Saturday, collected the tying goal in the first period against the Rangers just 53 seconds after Vincent Trocheck put New York ahead.

“We know where we’re at, but at the same time, we’re trying to get to a certain place and develop a certain standard,” Miller said of the Canucks, who have made the playoffs twice in the last 10 seasons but lead the Pacific Division with 55 points. “We want it to become seamless for us. We want to show up and expect that.”

The game against the Islanders will mark the Canucks’ third straight against a team that made the playoffs last season.

“We don’t want to be surprised to beat good hockey teams,” Miller said. “I’m glad we play again (Tuesday). We can short-live this one, learn from it tomorrow morning, enjoy it and get right back at it.”

–Field Level Media

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