The Colorado Avalanche long ago became resigned to playing the role of spoiler during the second half of the NHL season, On Sunday night, they'll have a rare chance to damage an opponent's playoff chances for a second time when they visit the New York islanders at Barclays Center.
The game will be the second of a back-to-back set for both the Islanders and Avalanche, each of whom lost on Saturday. New York fell to the Ottawa Senators, 3-0, while Colorado dropped a 4-2 decision to the New York Rangers.
The Avalanche are an NHL-worst 15-35-2, including just 3-15-1 since play resumed following the holiday break. But one of those wins came against the Islanders on Jan. 6, when Colorado earned a 2-1 overtime victory at Pepsi Center.
That loss could loom big for the Islanders (24-19-10), who have gone 18-9-6 since Nov. 28 to climb into the wild card race. The defeat on Saturday dropped New York three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers, who are currently tied for the second wild card.