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Back-to-Back Bits: Howling for Points; Power Play Struggles

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Also, Trotz is smooth and serene.

NHL: New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers
The hero we don’t deserve.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Life is measurably improved when the Islanders win. Food tastes better. Flowers smell fresher. The sun seems a little brighter. And it’s even sweeter that it was against the Flyers, avenging two ugly earlier losses to them.

Let’s hope they can keep that going today with the Coyotes in town. They played yesterday afternoon as well, but actually had to travel less, since they were only in Newark to play the Devils. For whatever that’s worth, anyway. FIGs go here, 3:00 p.m. puck drop.

Islanders News

Recaps from the return of March Josh Bailey (maybe): LHH | Newsday | Islanders | NHL | NY Post | NYI Skinny | BSH Photo Gallery

  • Coach Barry Trotz’s sense of calm gives the Islanders a sense of confidence they hadn’t had before with other coaches. [Newsday]
  • Which is good, because down the stretch, the Islanders play quite a few playoff-hopeful teams. [NY Post]
  • One thing that might help is fixing their absolutely abysmal power play, which went 0-for-5 yesterday, including two separate 5-on-3 opportunities, and is now 1-for-36 over the last 15 games. [Newsday]
  • The Sound Tigers beat the Belleville Senators yesterday as they inch closer to a playoff spot. Josh Ho-Sang, Mitch Vande Sompel, and Parker Wotherspoon all missed the game with day-to-day ailments. [Soundin’ Off pregame | CT Post postgame]
  • Way back in 2001, then-coach Butch Goring spoke to then-owner Charles Wang in their exit interview, and Butchie pleaded with Wang to not let then-GM Mike Milbury to trade Zdeno Chara. Butchie was right, evidently. [Boston Globe]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Canadiens, Hurricanes, and Penguins all winning in regulation (over the Sabres, Wild, and Stars, respectively).

The standings now show both the Islanders and Penguins (93 points) only one point behind the Capitals (94 points) for first in the Metro, and the Islanders enter the day today with a game in hand on Pittsburgh. The ‘Canes (89 points) occupy the first wild card and the Habs (87 points) the second. The Blue Jackets (84 points) are three back of Montreal with a game in hand.

More teams are starting to clinch; last night, it was the Bruins and Jets in their routs of the Panthers and Predators, respectively. [NHL on Jets | NHL on Bruins]

  • The Senators are going to get GM Pierre Dorion some help by way of hiring a new President of Hockey Operations. Or, at least that’s how they’re spinning hiring his new boss. [TSN]
  • Amid the rumors of a rift between Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and himself, Toronto coach Mike Babcock reported he first heard of any tension through the media, though never explicitly said there hasn’t been any. [TSN]
  • The Bruins are going to lose fourth line center Sean Kuraly, who had two goals against the Islanders in the 5-0 thrashing last week, for four weeks after breaking his right hand blocking a shot. [Yahoo!]
  • Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has decided to skip the team’s White House visit tomorrow. [Yahoo!]
  • Kyle Okposo opened up and spoke to Sportsnet about his difficult recovery from the concussion he had last season. [Sportsnet]