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Islanders Matinee: Intent to spoil the Bruins

Everybody's still trying, there's "a lot of hockey left to play" and all that. But I admit I'm in the mode where I just want to see the young guys progress, evaluate those two pups on defense, and I'll take my joy in the moments when the Islanders can deliver a damaging blow to a playoff hopeful. Like Boston this afternoon. That'd be just dandy.

Bos-se_medium               Nyi-n_medium
Boston Bruins (28-23-11, 7th/E) at New York Islanders (26-30-8, 13th/E)
NOTE: 2 p.m. EST | Nassau [soon with pricier parking!] Coliseum | MSG+, radio
Beanpots: Stanley Cup of Chowdah (SBN) | Hub Hockey | HBA

This is one of those inconvenient (to me) afternoon tilts, so I prepped this last night and don't have a lot of information to share. But yesterday Mark Herrmann reported [reference to yesterday: "...or did he FABRICATE it?"] that two lines at practice looked like so:

Josh Bailey / Frans Nielsen / Kyle Okposo

Blake Comeau / John Tavares / Matt Moulson

No way of knowing if that means an end to Thursday's mind-altering Richard Park-Tavares experiment. (Speaking of Tavares, it's been a few months, time for a Weight-as-Tavares-mentor story at Herrmann also reported on Martin Biron (stressed from deadline day but ready to turn the page) and Scott Gordon (pledging to play the hot hand in goal, not terribly worried about anonymous player quotes).

Since I am an unashamed Nielsen homer, and the most exciting finish of this season series was Nielsen's breakaway OT goal at home Dec. 12, I shall now entertain you with Nielsen's post-game interview, at the end of which he utters my favorite Nielsen quote ever, describing Tavares' no-look assist to Moulson during that game:

'Aw, Sick. That What He Do.'

That what he do. Hopefully today we see some composure from our suddenly less-experienced defense, and perhaps a few plays from the young forwards that make me say, "Aw, sick. That what he do." (In truth, I'm going to walk around the house saying that to Mrs. Lighthouse today anyway: Dog soil the rug? "Aw, sick. That what he do.")

Season Series

This being the fourth and final meeting, it brings another intra-conference series to a close, with the Islanders taking two so far (one via Nielsen's OT) and the Bruins taking the first (via SO). In real terms, the Islanders have won five points from the Bruins while allowing the Bruins to take three. Eight points ... from three games: NHL math FTW!

For grins and posterity, here are the Islanders' completed intra-conference series so far. We've swept played through the entire Southeast, and now we're working on the historic Adams. I like a gander such as this, because when you're fighting these teams for the same playoff seeds (pretend with me here), the extra points created by going to extra time do matter. So even if some TV anchor tells us, "They're 2-2 against Carolina," the reality is Carolina won the series by two points:

Newsday Mole W OTW OTL L NYI Pts. Acquired Pts. Allowed
Washington 0 1 2 1 4 7
Atlanta 2 1 0 1 6 3
Tampa Bay 1 0 0 3 2 6
Florida 0 1 1 2 3 7
Carolina 0 2 0 2 4 6
Buffalo 1 1 0 2 4 5

Prediction: If things don't go well, we blame either the three-goalie crowd or Jeff Tambellini ... or Newsday.