The New York Islanders finished out the string with a sleepy season finale and Fan Appreciation Day in Brooklyn.
Officially, it goes into the books as a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators — and a too-little, too-late six-game win streak to finish out the Isles’ season.
So with the win the Isles reached the Doug Weight-prescribed 94 points, but it turns out that was never going to be enough to make the playoffs this year in the East. Boston clings to the final wild card seed with 95 points, while in the West both wild card teams finished with 94 points like the Isles.
Nikolay Kulemin returned from injury for the (then-still-) must-win in Newark, but with the stupid Penguins having blown the Islanders’ chance at a final-day playoff miracle, Kulemin sat out again.
That allowed rookie Connor Jones to return to the lineup for his fourth-ever NHL game, while Thomas Hickey continued his spell as winger, as the Bridgeport pair of Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield stayed together.
(For our future selves who look back on this day and wonder what was going on during the final day of 2016-17: John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas and Shane Prince were all with Kulemin on the injured list, as was defenseman Travis Hamonic.)
Beer League Game
It was going to be a sleepy affair, with the playoff-bound and home-ice-secured Senators resting several regulars. (Hopefully that’s okay with the Brooksian columnists of the world? I don’t know. Let’s use this space for a random shot at Joshua Ho-Sang.)
Indeed, it looked like the players had fun with some casual pick-up play. Andrew Ladd opened scoring three minutes in with an uncontested rebound, though the Isles were outshot 14-7 in the opening frame.
In the second period, some more Isles goals to make it feel like a proper Fan Appreciation Day finale.
The first was from Anders Lee, who just keeps scoring goals. No one tell him the season ended tonight.
Josh Bailey attained his 200th NHL regular season assist on the goal. A whopping 43 of them have come this season.
Brock Nelson reached a minor milestone of his own, notching 20 goals for the third straight season on a nifty move cutting to the net finished with a deke:
That also gave Nelson a new career-high of 43 points this season, as he also assisted on Lee’s goal. (He’d add a 44th, an assist on the empty net goal that finished scoring.)
They say that a “3-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey when it’s a season finale and no one gives a damn,” and the Isles proved that to be so by giving up the next two goals.
Bobby Ryan scored late in the second on an odd-man rush after Dennis Seidenberg broke his stick at the Senators blueline.
Then the Sens got the next one, Jean-Gabriel Pageau hyphening a rebound in just 2:34 into the third.
Jason Chimera was the final milestone guy for the afternoon, slipping in an empty net goal to reach 20 goals for the second consecutive season.
- Joshua Ho-Sang, you were a much-needed breath of fresh air. Work on your game this summer like John Tavares (and if you can, find the instinct to shoot a little more) and light the league on fire next season.
- Kind of cool to see Anders Lee storm his way to 34 goals after the slumping start he had, and to finish the season racking up goals even without John Tavares.
- Just think, we may never see the Seidenberg-de Haan pairing ever again.
- I feel like the Islanders should’ve called up The Other Jones Twin for this game, but I don’t really know much about either of them, to be honest.
- So, we’re protecting Hickey in the expansion draft as a forward, right?
Finally, thanks again, truly, to all of you for reading along this season. My sentiments in the pregame remain true but I won’t repeat them here. Suffice to say it’s been fun, albeit frustrating with a disappointing ending.
But that’s not your fault nor ours. (No really! We don’t make the team decisions! Twitter has it wrong!) What is your fault is that this was a lot more fun to endure thanks to you all.
So up next, season reviews, report cards, playoff chatter, offseason moves, draft coverage and more. Stick around, and write a fanpost, ya hear?