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Islanders Gameday News: New Year’s in the capital; Bar-zal-Star

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The Islanders close out 2019 against the current front-runners, while Mathew Barzal gets welcome but expected news.

2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Practice Day
(They’re not actually playing here.)
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Islanders are in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., tonight to close out the 2019 and the decade. But it’s only mid-season (almost) and they need the win. Because everyone of significance in the Metro is winning.

After 37 games, the Islanders are 24-10-3, which is good for the fifth-most points in the league but would not have them open on home ice if the playoffs started today. (More on that whole format below, in the Elsewhere section.)

Tonight’s opponent, the Capitals, stand at first overall. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight over here.

Islanders News

  • Previewing tonight: The Isles hope to resume their good confident vibes in Washington. [Newsday | Isles]
  • Carey took a look at five potential trade targets to upgrade at third-line center. [LHH]
  • The NHL announced the selections for the All-Star weekend in St. Louis, and Mathew Barzal is — shock — the Islanders’ selection. [Newsday | Isles | NHL]
  • The fascinating case of Ross Johnston continues to add new chapters. [Athletic]
  • Bridgeport Report: Kieffer Bellows isn’t the only Sound Tiger on a hot streak. [Isles]
  • Oliver Wahlstrom logged another assist as the U.S. beat the Czechs in overtime at the WJC. [Isles]
  • Among Long Island’s biggest stories of the decade: That whole Islanders arena saga. [Newsday]
  • Remember Joel Rechlicz? This rather impressive statistic makes the former Islander and Capital one of the most inconsequential pro athletes of the decade. (Seriously, it’s a hilariously reasoned list if you have the time to dive in.) [SB Nation]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include...well, there was only one. The Penguins beat the Senators in regulation.

  • The NHL’s divisional playoff setup is once again creating some “but that’s not fair” seedings in the playoff race. [TSN]
  • John Tortorella says he regrets his latest epic rant, and the league defends its officials for not adding time back on the clock. [Sportsnet | TSN]
  • You’re Not Alone: Every team’s fanbase seems to think its team gives up a lot of “Wait, who?!” first career goals, but it’s mostly not all that true. (I trust most of us intuitively know this, but what is fandom if half of it isn’t spent musing how we are cursed?) That said though? The Islanders are high on this list. (They also gave up a whole lot of goals, period, this decade.) [Broad Street Hockey]
  • I guess we’re supposed to be upset that Brad Marchand wasn’t selected for the All-Star Weekend (but there’s no cheapshot category in this year’s skills competition, so...). [Sportsnet]
  • Sergei Bobrovsky is set to make his return to Columbus and the Blue Jackets say they’re not really thinking about all that. [NHL]
  • Jake Guentzel is the latest Penguins injury after a scary crash into the boards following a goal. [Sportsnet]
  • Stop asking about Jon Cooper’s job security, says the Lightning GM. [TSN]