With the New York Islanders heading into the weekend having lost five of six games (one an OT loss in Washington), few would have expected them to come out of back-to-back matinees against superior Eastern teams with a regulation sweep. Thankfully, hockey is funny that way.
The two wins bring the never-quite-dead Islanders back to within five points of eighth place, but let me be the jerk again: They're not only five points but also five teams away from a playoff spot, and four of those five teams now have a game in hand. By the time the Islanders play again Thursday, each of those five teams will have played at least one and in some cases two games, including three against each other.
That doesn't change how fun Anders Nilsson's first NHL shutout was though. Night and day from his
debut first start in Pittsburgh.
Links and Notes
Recaps of the Weekend Wins: Ours of the win over Boston, and the win over the Devils | In Lou We Trust looks at Sunday's game from the Devils' perspective | Nice Getty pic of Nilsson with his shutout puck | Newsday gamer (Herrmann) here | Daily News has Nilsson feeling "more and more comfortable" | Fire & Ice has the Devils disappointed in their effort... | ... but also looking forward to two more cracks at the Isles | The Star-Ledger on Nilsson's shutout
Zach Parise didn't think his hand was broken on that Milan Jurcina (suddenly the Destroyer), but it wasn't feeling good after the game.
Martin Brodeur on what the Devils face this week:
"We’re going to play a different animal in our building on Tuesday," Brodeur said. "We don’t necessarily play (the Rangers) really well, so we’re going to have to really play a solid hockey game and get the emotions high.
Hopefully that will set the table for the next two games we have to play against the Islanders, because these are huge points.
"These guys want to compete and do well. They’re a good young hcokey team. If you don’t compete, it’s going to come back and bite you."
Nino Returns: With Michael Grabner out with the flu, Nino Niederreiter returned to the lineup and got some third-line time. Newsday had a really thorough piece on his tough rookie season.
Prospects: Mark's weekly Bridgeport/Prospect update. | Bridgeport won again yesterday, Mark Katic saw his first action (and first shift) of the season, Micheal Haley scored to goose the fan Haley Will Solve All campaign ... and Wade Redden is captain of the Whale.
Interesting look at an undercovered part of the NHL trade deadline: How players find out in the Twitter age, and how their families react. Focus on Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau. [FanShot]
Many random things about John Tavares.
More on the crazy circumstances that saw Ryan Strome score five goals in a playoff game. [video highlights here]
Anders Nilsson's Post-Game Interview
He feels he better knows what to expect now. But of course like all proper goalies he credits the work of the guys without the big pads. Of interesting note, he also says going several days without playing games is no big deal because it happens all the time in the AHL's weekend-heavy schedule:
- Latest Hockey Prospectus GVT Listing for your perusal and quibble.
- Well. CBC about to pay for Don Cherry’s criticism of NHL? - The Globe and Mail
- Oh, and here's Cherry blasting Brian Burke.
- If NHL GMs were honest: Things I Wish People Would Say Episode 1 " The Active Stick
- Players who are generally from the area where they currently play: Local Talent in the NHL - The Copper & Blue
- General OT Schadenfreude: The coach of the Capitals sat Alex Ovechkin for a while after a goal against in their home shutout loss to the Flyers. [video of the presser is here (I was going to embed it, but I don't want the man's face looking at us)]. Japers' Rink discusses the loss here.