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Islanders vs. Capitals Gameday: Now with 66.6% less Devil

Alright, we can put the NHL trade deadline to bed with yesterday's posts and analysis. I believe it was a former Secretary of Defense who once said you go into the final quarter with the team Garth Snow gave you, not the team you traded for on NHL '12. Or something.

So David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas (Josh Bailey's injury replacement) are here, Brian Rolston and fresh-off-IR Mike Mottau are not. The ex-Devil stopgaps have made way for youth, in accordance with the prophecies.

Nyi-landthin_medium Was-slim_medium
Islanders (26-28-8, 13th/E) @ Capitals (31-26-5, 9th/E)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+ | Audio: NHL -
Ma Bell Disassemble, Ma Bell Reunite] Center
Standing Pat:
Japers' Rink

Their next step is the second game of this four-game road trip which will see them either respark their flickering playoff fantasies or uncomfortably see them drift further from even illusory grasp. For their sake and for their confidence's sake, I hope they can keep it alive. Like Lighthouse Dog #2 and her toys, it seems the target is more entertaining if you pretend it's alive.

The Capitals, too, are alive. They haven't been that good under their current coach, but here they are just a point behind eighth-place Winnipeg (heh, and three points behind "third"-place Florida!) with three games in hand on the Jets. Fate is in their hands. (It actually defies the concept of "fate" to say that, but it's time to get to the jump.)

The Capitals have won two in a row in front of Michael Neuvirth after some rough nights by Tomas Vokoun, which I guess is why People Who Talk On The Internet were suggesting the Caps shop Vokoun. If goalies have taught us anything it's that you don't make irreversible decisions based on a week here and there.

Caps GM George McPhee made zero big decisions yesterday, remaining quiet and choosing to let this team ride on its own volition. Surprisingly, a big goal last game came from perennial AHL scorer Keith Aucoin, who was sent down afterward but that's actually for deadline purposes, most likely. With the Capitals adding no bodies, look for him to be called up as soon as this a.m.

The Islanders have won the two prior meetings this season, both in regulation.

Islander Enigmatic '76: It Flashes, It Falters, It Fishes

The Rolston trade pleases me not so much because he's gone -- he'd be gone in two months anyway -- but because it forces the burden of figuring out the third line not on the over-scorned ex-Devil, and not on the enigmatically departed Blake Comeau, but on those who remain: Matt Martin has been absolutely fine all season. Josh Bailey has not. Bailey has shown flashes on the PK, but at even strength he's still not there. When he comes back from the back injury, he'll have a chance with a new winger if not two.

Meanwhile, if Bailey remains out, prospect callups like Cizikas and Ullstrom will get a chance to mark their own lines in the sand and provide more contest for where Bailey is as a player.

Goal: Word was (from Bob McKenzie I think, but I can't find the Tweet Edit: It was Pierre LeBrun. Thanks, reader.) that the Islanders checked the trade waters for Al Montoya late yesterday and -- shock -- found no nibbles. He's not been used much at all since returning from his concussion and his brief appearances did not go well. Here's betting they continue to ride Evgeni Nabokov as much as possible, signed or not.

Defense: Mottau's move brings the Isles back to six D on this trip. Bears watching, especially if Staios is still day-to-day at this morning's pow-wow.

Bridgeport Look

Speaking of the pups, a view of Bridgeport's weekend at The Checking Line and of Sunday's game in this FanPost. Michael Fornabaio had a run-down of how various transactions impacted the Sound Tigers.

Not getting its own heading: P.A. Parenteau's agent refutes something or other about what PAP is seeking.

FIG Picks

Here are your updated First Islanders Goal standings, as well as the place to leave today's picks.