Islanders Bits: Sound Tigers Prep for Whale of a Playoff

Cizikas: One of Bridgeport's key once-and-future Isles.

We're starting to get some advance looks at the first-round, best-of-five playoff series between AHL affiliates of the Islanders and Rangers -- the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Connecticut Whale. Games 1 and 2 are Thursday and Saturday in Bridgeport. It's a series both franchises have always wanted, as it's a natural draw at the turnstile.

Check Michael Fornabaio's chat from yesterday as well as his Post preview of the first playoff Battle of Connecticut for these two franchises. As he notes, the roster is very crowded, but "Colliton and a few groin pulls" could get any non-Clear Day you want on the roster.

The Hartford Courant notes just how close the thus-far 10-game regular season series has been. You'll want to bookmark that blog (do people still bookmark?) for the Whale side of things.

The Islanders are offering a ticket deal with round-trip Port Jeff Ferry package.

More talk of Sound Tigers vs. Whale from: Eye on the Isles | The Checking Line | And as a bonus, here (via Fornabaio) is a PennLive pick of Bridgeport to make the finals. | And here's the regular season scoring leaders.

Via FanShot, some Ryan Strome playoff highlights.

For fun: Heh, What If Sports runs simulations even of historical teams. So, say if the 1979-80 Islanders faced the 2011-12 Islanders, you might see Frans Nielsen score (shorthaneded), Josh Bailey score (the NEW Bailey!), and Steve Staios ... take a minor penalty in the 8-3 loss.

A Skates on the Plane treatment of Mark Streit.

NHL Notes and Such

Oh hey look: Raffi Torres still does nothing but try to injure his fellow NHLPA members. Nice job, big guy. You're a star. (Seriously, watching him out West year after year, for every time he actually does put someone on a stretcher like he did to Marian Hossa last night, there are plenty of reckless hits he delivers that barely avoid disaster. That's mostly what he does. Naturally he thinks it's all fine and good. He should be playing Quebec semi-pro.)

Don't have video, but last night on NHL Network Billy Jaffe had a nice comparison of Dustin Brown's hit on Henrik Sedin (feet on the ice, shoulder drive, stick on the ice the whole time) to Torres (feet off the ice, leaping up toward the head, stick flying up as is often the case with Torres' out-of-control cannonballs).

Speaking of this crazy first round: Chicago Blackhawks: Playoff hockey turning into pro wrestling - Chicago Tribune and Zetteberg takes minor shot at Shanahan

Penguins fans do the Hitler video spoof treatment to their own team's disaster. (Note: Same German audio as always, but NSFW printed language in the subtitles.)

Arron Asham got four games, James Neal just one. Oh, but Sidney Crosby is still innocent [TSN interview clip].

Finally, this goal from last night is the most hilarious defensive coverage I've seen in a long time from any NHL team, much less the Red Wings. I mean, even Jimmy Howard chased the rest of the kids toward the dust cloud where the kindergarten soccer ball rolled (it's not shown here, but there was a great Babcock Face at the end too):

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