That was more than a bit deflating after Thursday night’s triumphant and emphatic victory; it was also served to threaten standings position, with the Capitals evening up point totals with the Islanders. The Islanders retain first place by virtue of playing one less game, but, as we know, every team has the same number of games played at the end of the season.
At this point, though, they’ve just gotta get back to that full 60-minute effort they put on vivid display against the Maple Leafs. They need to watch hours worth of video from that game and try to emulate the best they can.
And this week features four winnable games against two beatable opponents: a home-and-home against the now-AHL quality Ottawa Senators, sandwiched by two home games against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are quite hot right now, having gone 15-3-2 in their last 20, but that’ll only make it sweeter if/when the Islanders beat them twice.
The coach speaks on his current team losing to his former team:
- Barry Trotz will tell you it’s “old hat” at this point facing Washington, which I like to hear, but I don’t think human emotions don’t work that way. Then again, it was the third meeting this season between the two — he got the initial visit out of the way, as well as his return to D.C., so maybe he’s serious. [Newsday]
- Michael Fornabaio catches you up with the happenings around Bridgeport and gets you prepared for the Sound Tigers’ two games this weekend, at the Hershey Bears today and at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Sunday. [Sound Tigers]
Probably the End of All the Tavares Coverage, For Now
- Revisiting Thursday night, Arthur Staple’s piece on John Tavares’ return centered on the opinions of Mathew Barzal and the irony that Tavares left to join a team that gave a full effort as consistently as he did, only to watch his former team go balls to the wall for 60 minutes against him as his new team wilted around him. [The Athletic]
- It’s nice to read an outside perspective about the Tavares situation that actually gets it, in a level-headed way: no one begrudges Tavares the opportunity to live out a dream, just as no one should begrudge Islanders fans for not being happy about it. [Faxes from Uncle Dale]
- In any event, Tavares can officially close the book on his story with the Islanders. I imagine his future visits won’t be warm and welcoming, either, but I can’t imagine it’ll be like Thursday again. [The Athletic]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins losing in overtime to the Sabres while the Hurricanes defeated the Blues. Pittsburgh sits outside the playoff picture for now, while the ‘Canes sit in third in the Metro. The idle Blue Jackets and the Canadiens, who beat the Rangers at MSG last night thanks to a hat trick by Joel Armia, occupy the wild cards.
- Yesterday, the Senators fired coach Guy Boucher and replaced him with assistant coach Marc Crawford on an interim basis. [Silver Seven | NHL]
- The decision to not renew his expiring contract at the end of the season had already been made, but GM Pierre Dorion felt it was necessary to end the Boucher experiment a little early. [Ottawa Sun]
- And now, a coaching search unlike any other before it begins in Ottawa. It’s still an NHL job, but it’s also a bit of a death sentence, no? [TSN]
- The Flames team that skipped rope with the Islanders twice in a week? They look much different than the mostly AHL roster that ended the 2013 season against the admittedly vaunted 2013 Blackhawks. Only Mikael Backlund, Mark Giordano, and TJ Brodie remain. [M&G]
- The Lightning have signed top QMJHL undrafted free agent Jimmy Huntington, named after the historic North Shore town and village on Long Island. [Raw Charge]