Last spring the New York Islanders put a franchise demon behind them with a playoff series win over the Florida Panthers, largely at the hands of a nominally "backup" goaltender and a franchise star center.
You probably knew it then and — Game 1 highlights not withstanding — know it now, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were a tall order to overcome in the next round.
That hasn’t changed, and early summer dreams — remember those? — of making a play for free agent-to-be-but-never-was Steven Stamkos are now a distant, quaint memory. Stamkos stayed with the Lightning, who remain an elite team in the East, and the Isles continue to try to figure out how to make the incremental improvements to reach that next level.
Oddly, carrying three goalies isn’t the secret.
Maybe the secret is a combo of additions like Shane Prince, a smart deadline pickup who starred in that Game 1 and shined in his second game back from injury on Sunday, and Anthony Beauvillier, a 19-year-old who’s betraying the team’s rep for overly over-ripening prospects.
But the Isles, from top to bottom in the organization, haven’t figured it out yet. The Lightning are in town tonight to remind them. (Although they weren’t able to remind the Smurfs, who got a hat trick from Michael Grabner.) Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here, if you’re so inclined.
- Want to know more about that awkward three-goalie situation and how they all feel? Status quo, man. Party lines all followed. [Newsday | Post]
- When Dan and Mike get together, hilarity and a general background level of angst ensues. [LHH Islanders Anxiety podcast]
- Of course that’s generally an outcome of Dan’s twisted mind. Like Slurpee/7-11 sponsorship of the Barclays Center ice. [LHH]
- But anyway, speaking of podcasts, the SNY IPB podcast talked Halak and all the Toronto crying about the Matt Martin tribute clip. [SoundCloud]
- John Tavares reminisces on youth hockey road trips. Don't hit a moose. Still not gonna "embrace winter." [Sportsnet]
- Six games into the new season, a look at the changes Barclays has made for the fan experience. [Eyes on Isles]
- Inside some Leafs fans' visit to Barclays to go all cult over Auston Matthews. [Times]
- Flyers fans disassemble every aspect of Andrew MacDonald's play. [SB Nation]
Good luck resolving the goalie situation, but anyway...:
After talking to a few teams today, and there is interest from some of them in Jaroslav Halak. #tvasports— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) October 31, 2016
It Was Halloween
Lest you spend all your time obsessing over things, remind yourself that Islanders players are also humans with adorable kids.
Channeling my inner Billy Idol in 08' Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween! pic.twitter.com/ZrCJ8Hy7MA— Anders Lee (@leeberr09) October 31, 2016
Too green for the NHL, too young for the AHL, too good for the CHL, Dylan Strome is in an uncomfortable position the Isles know well. [Five For Howling]
Bruce Boudreau grumpy. Bruce Boudreau have his reasons. [Star Tribune]
An on-going class action suit is putting WHL and OHL teams and their murky finances in an uncomfortable situation. [Sportsnet]
Craig Anderson had an amazing return after tending to his ill wife, and it was typical Anderson. [TSN]