That was a big win for the Islanders over the Wild last night. They played good ol’-fashioned Barry Trotz Islanders Hockey for most of the game but couldn’t solve Devan Dubnyk.
A little fortune in their favor in the third period, between a garbage-type goal for Ryan Pulock and Leo Komarov sending a cross-ice seed falling down—that he could never make again if he tried—for Matt Martin to plant, allowed them to lock it down and win in regulation. Tom Kuhnhackl’s goal right off the draw for the insurance sealed it, and sometimes you need your fourth-liners to score to get back on track.
Now, they head to Washington for a New Year’s Day afternoon match-up with Trotz’s former team, the Capitals, who are also the best team in the league. Wouldn’t it be fun to close out the decade by throttling them?
Recaps from a Minnesota-sized victory: LHH | Islanders | Newsday | NHL | NYI Skinny
Trotz speaks on getting back to basics:
"We just stayed with the process and played our game."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 30, 2019
More from Trotz on tonight's win against the Wild pic.twitter.com/y027GBjQYl
- The bulk of the All-Star rosters are supposed to be announced today. Mathew Barzal seems like a lock, but it remains to be seen if any other Isles join him. [Newsday]
- What are the Isles’ favorite road trips of the season? A lot of them like Montreal, Chicago, Vegas, Nashville, and Vancouver, but Barzal said he likes walking into the Garden. *tugs collar* [Islanders]
World Juniors Updates
- The U.S. scored its first two goals against Russia six seconds apart en route to a 3-1 win; Oliver Wahlstrom drove the puck over the blue line and set up the second quick goal. [Islanders]
Here’s the goal he assisted on:
Just six seconds later, Nick Robertson adds to Team USA's lead. Oliver Wahlstrom with the assist #LeafsForever #Isles pic.twitter.com/IPXSKmnSx2— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 29, 2019
He also got head-butted; he’s a feisty fella:
We’ve got Russian headbutts pic.twitter.com/Jhd7NRjUzV— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 29, 2019
- Today, the Canadians play the Germans at 9:00 a.m. EST and the U.S. takes on the host Czech Republic at 1:00 p.m. EST. There are two other games today, but we probably won’t be able to watch them legally. [NHL]
Speaking of head-butts: the Canadians will be without top center Joe Veleno (Red Wings prospect), who was suspended one game because of this “head-butt.” I mean, come on. And for fun, the guy that head-butted Wahlstrom will not be facing a suspension, it seems.
Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno was suspended one game for this headbutt pic.twitter.com/lboNM6mXbb— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) December 29, 2019
- I’m going to link the same article twice because it has multiple bits of information relevant to different parts of my thing here, but the MRIs revealed no real damage to Alexis Lafrenière’s knee. He won’t play today against Germany but he may return for the tournament. [Sportsnet — scroll down]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Blues beating the Jets, the Bruins beating the Sabres, and the Flyers taking down the Ducks in overtime.
- Also last night, the Blue Jackets lost in the shootout to the Blackhawks. They extended their point streak to 10 games, but Joonas Korpisalo was injured in the shootout and Elvis Merzlinkins had to come in cold. [NHL]
However, John Tortorella was... uh... displeased, shall we say, about the officials’ and the league’s handling of the clock (it’s censored but still, NSFW):
John Tortorella rips into the refs and the NHL review process before walking out of his press conference pic.twitter.com/1USZBloGv6— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 30, 2019
- Thing is, he’s probably right. Zach Werenski put the puck behind Robin Lehner right as the buzzer sounded in overtime. Had the extra 1.1 seconds been on the clock, the goal likely counts, they win and don’t go to a shootout, and their starting goalie doesn’t get injured. (Transcript available in this article if you can’t watch.) [ESPN]
- Carter Hutton is struggling in net for the Sabres and the goalies they have at AHL Rochester are pushing for a promotion. [Die by the Blade]
- And now for the second linking of that Sportsnet article: in the last month, there have been three nasty skate blade incidents that came to pass. And if you ask the Situation Room, there were plenty more that were dangerously close. The league is monitoring this and trying to make wearing knives on their feet a little more safe. [Sportsnet]