The Islanders came away from a headscratching road back-to-back weekend with two points — they lost the game to a bad team, in which they played excellently, and won a game against a decent and desperate team in which they were clearly gassed. Losing to the Red Wings and beating the Wild will likely be footnotes at the end of the season, though, and the Islanders’ Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is down to 11, and to clinch the division 21, according to Eric Hornick’s Skinny linked below.
The Islanders start the week in first place in the Metropolitan Division, the latest in the season they’ve led their division since 1988. They have one home game this week, against the Bruins, before they face the Canadiens and Flyers on the road. Should be a difficult week; let’s see how they respond.
Coach Barry Trotz called last night’s win a “good character test:”
“Today was a good character test. We weren’t getting the calls that we wanted, we were getting outplayed in some areas, but we hung in there and at the end of the day, we had some backbone in the third.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/9gLntosMMh— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 18, 2019
- Casey Cizikas’ lower-body injury forced him to miss a second straight game; hopefully, it’s just the Islanders being cautious. [Newsday]
- Garth Snow deserves some credit for where the Islanders are now, if we’re all being honest. [NY Post]
- The Sound Tigers rebounded from a lackluster effort last night to get a win against the Springfield Thunderbirds at home, largely due to a shutout for Jeremy Smith. [Soundin’ Off pregame/wrap from yesterday | Soundin’ Off postgame | CT Post | Sound Tigers]
- Listen to the Isles Buzz Podcast’s latest episode, recorded live at the Offside Tavern. Guests include our own Dan Saraceni, CJ Papa, and Jillian Fisher. [LHH]
- Dan was also on Hockey Night New York last night, talking about the Wild game and the season in general.
Yesterday’s NHL scores include the Penguins and Flyers doing battle into an OT loss for Pittsburgh. They remained scoreless until early in the third, and then the Pens gave up the 1-0 lead with 19 seconds on the clock. The Flyers went on to take the two points in overtime with 4 seconds left in the game.
- Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch before the Battle of Pennsylvania game for an undisclosed reason. Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo cross-checked him hard the day before and Malkin didn’t get up right away, but did play the rest of that game. [NHL]
- The Wild’s loss to the Islanders clinched a playoff berth for the Flames, the first team to clinch in the Western Conference and second overall. [NHL]
- Need a smack in the face to get going? Try some smelling salts instead. [The Athletic]
- In their first season of existence, the Minnesota Whitecaps captured the Isobel Cup for the 2019 NWHL season with a 2-1 OT win. [Ice Garden]