Tonight at home against the Flyers, the Islanders try to repeat the trick of felling a playoff-bound opponent. Coach Scott Gordon thinks he smells confidence after that unlikeliest of shutout wins in Detroit:
"It's definitely a confidence-builder. Obviously, they have exceptional talent, but in saying that, it's a lesson learned that you can outwork a talented team. Not that [the Red Wings] played poorly. I just think our guys made a lot of second efforts tonight and were rewarded for it."
Smell confidence after one high-profile scalp? As Hannibal Lecter succinctly said of Multiple Miggs' aledged olfactory prowess: "I myself cannot."
Philadelphia Flyers (40-23-10, 4th/E) at New York Islanders (25-41-8, 30th)
7 p.m. EDT | Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | MSG+2 (twice the plus!)
Filadelfia Phlyers blog: Broad Street Hockey
That win at Joe Louis Arena, while stunning, is already old news. They played a solid road game, caught a flat-footed Red Wings team, and stole two unblemished points. But tonight the fourth-place Flyers can start leveraging their games in hand over fifth-place Carolina to create separation (just one point up now) in the race for home-ice advantage.
Martin Biron has won 10 straight over the Islanders, and Jeff Carter has more goals (11) and points (26) against the Isles than against any other foe. Whereas the Red Wings looked disinterested, the Flyers should be a bit hungrier (they dropped a home game Thursday to Florida), and a little more familiar with Team Gordon. May the Islanders be ready. (Of course, six points back of Colorado in the lottery un-race, they needn't be too ready.)
Some links and rebuild thoughts after the jump...
These Rebuilds Can Really Pay Off in Sheer Joy
Trust me, if the Islanders keep doing this rebuild thing right, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With apologies for looking toward (back?) St. Louis again, the rebuild there is a few years ahead of the Islanders and an inspiring reminder of what the future can hold.
The Blues have been on a phenomenal run since January -- from last place to the thick of the playoff bubble -- and their long-developing young assets are leading the way. T.J. Oshie's relentless play reminds me a little of Kyle Okposo, who made the Wings look silly last night in setting up Nielsen's goal. Just one of many recent plaudits for Oshie: "Treats every shift as if it's his last in the NHL ... Hats off to this talented youngster who has earned his respect the old-fashioned way - hard work and determination."
It's a long, hard road, this franchise restart. But a look around the excitement at Blues blog St. Louis Game Time tells you just how fun the payoff can be. Keep the faith, and hockey salvation ye shall reap.
- On that note, Garth Snow pledges to stick with what he has: "We came up with a plan to build through the draft, and we're sticking to it. This season has been painful, but we think we'll be better for it."
- Alex Ovechkin got goals 52 and 53 last night, but Brian Pothier scored his first goal since last season, after returning from a nearly career-ending concussion.
- Puck Daddy listed a bunch of interesting rebuttals to Crosby hate. As I've said before, turning the kid into a villain is really a waste of my mental space. While his offenses -- and Ovechkin's, too -- are surpassed by so many more every night in this league, his (and Ovie's) demonstration of effort and skills are not.
- Nick at Let There be Light(house) relays what he would've said the other night if given a chance to speak: Hempstead can either be brave, or die.
- Hadn't linked to it yet, but good stuff from Botta earlier this week on Bailey's faceoff progress. The overarching lesson from vets: The most important faceoff is your next one, whether you've won or lost 3 of the last 20. Personally, it's fun (as a meager rec player, me) to pick your spots all night for your best tricks and play the psychological game against frequent faceoff foes. I can't imagine doing it at 19 against NHL veterans. ("Help! Where's my mommy?")
- On the NYIsles Scene recaps the Joey Mac shutout, adding it to unlikely scalps this year that also include the Devils (twice). 7th Woman and Forever1940 react, too.