Tonight in Florida, the Islanders wrap up a three-game road trip and a stretch where they played ten of their last 13 on the road. They have a tough, nationally-televised one-off trip to Boston to play the Bruins next week and one more three-game trip, visiting Chicago, Minnesota, and Washington, to close out the month, the year, and the decade (sorry, pedants). After that, they don’t have a tough road stretch until February. Their only multi-game “trip” in January is a two-game venture to Carolina and then the Garden just before the All-Star break, so they’d be sleeping in their own beds.
But I’m looking too far ahead. This evening, the Islanders take on the Panthers. They’ve already hosted Florida twice this year—tonight’s game will wrap up the season series, which the Islanders have already won. Going for a nearly clean sweep, as Florida did get a point out of the first meeting.
Let’s preview the damn thing, shall we?
Nick Leddy was on the ice practicing yesterday, which is a good sign, but he was in the orange jersey, which I believe means no-contact. Barry Trotz isn’t sure if he’ll be good to go tonight. [Islanders]
"It's hard to miss practice, or even a game. I think I've been pretty lucky throughout my career that I haven't missed too many. I'm feeling good, getting better." - Nick Leddy— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 11, 2019
More from #Isles practice today in Sunrise here: pic.twitter.com/jtTMKSDK9t
- Ross Johnston skated his way on to the Islanders’ top line. [Newsday]
- Somewhat relatedly, I’m sure, Elliotte Friedman says the Islanders are looking for a goal scorer in 31 Thoughts. The column also touches on the Stars’ firing of Jim Montgomery.
- Travis Flynn broke down the Islanders’ forecheck, using video review, and when it is most successful. [LHH]
- It is not yet certain if Lou Lamoriello will allow Noah Dobson and any of the other eligible kids to play in the World Junior Championships, but the Islanders can’t afford to lose Dobson right now. [The Athletic]
- Isles prospect and 2019 sixth-round pick Félix Bibeau was traded from the Quebec Remparts to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the QMJHL. En français!
- Speaking of kids, let’s check on the Sound Tigers in this week’s Bridgeport Report. [Islanders | Sound Tigers]
- The Sound Tigers will be hosting two post-game autograph sessions this season.
- The Islanders wives and girlfriends shared the holidays with their ‘Adopt a Family.’ [Islanders]
- DGB put together full rosters for Team Brothers vs. Team Father/Son and the Islanders submit to Team Brother Brent and Ron Sutter (Duane didn’t make the cut, it seems) on the fourth line and Denis Potvin on the top pair, Jean on the third pair. I guess Ron Hextall counts, too, but I think Islanders fans would prefer to forget his time on the Island.
Does it get any cuter than Josh Bailey’s son singing the Josh Bailey song??? pic.twitter.com/ke8bXmpM2L— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 12, 2019
Last night’s NHL games featured a clash of titans. Unfortunately, though, the Capitals beat the Bruins and got their 50th and 51st points on the season. It’s the middle of December. Also, the Avalanche topped the Flyers at home.
- Another coach, the fifth one, has been fired since the Red Wings last won a game. This time, it was Peter DeBoer of the Sharks, and it was purely hockey-related. [NHL | Sportsnet | CBC]
- They also fired assistants Steve Spott and Dave Barr. [FTF]
- San Jose sought a new voice in Bob Boughner, who recently coached the Panthers. [The Athletic]
- This is interesting: it just so happens that there isn’t as huge a discrepancy in performance when goalies play back-to-backs. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t rotate if you have a good tandem, like the Islanders, but a team like the Maple Leafs should probably play Frederik Andersen both nights. [The Athletic]
- Dimitri Filipovic put together the NHL’s All-Regression Team, consisting of guys either expected to bounce back or expected to come crashing down to earth. [ESPN]
- The Ringer put out a list of defining moments in sports from this year and left off the Blues’ first Stanley Cup win. [SLGT]