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Islanders News: Big week ahead; Playoffs close

Also, AJ has a bus?!

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at New York Islanders
Getting a shutout in the second half of back-to-back games is quite impressive.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hard to argue with the results from this weekend. Back to back wins and one point back of first. Keep it rolling, baby. Massive game Tuesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Due to the rest of the results last night, it can’t be a clincher, but the playoffs are so close I can taste them. They taste like chicken.

Islanders News

Recapping the shutout of the Coyotes: LHH | Newsday | Islanders | NHL | NY Post | NYI Skinny: Magic Number at 5

  • Goalie Robin Lehner looked more like himself in the victory yesterday and the win over the Flyers Saturday. [Newsday]
  • The win was Barry Trotz’s 1600th game coached, a huge milestone — he’s only the fourth coach to ever reach that mark. [Newsday]

Here’s what he had to say about it:

  • VIDEO: Before the game, AJ Mleczko showed to Shannon her family’s Tailgate Bus in the parking lot. It had her husband and kids on it, as well as the Blue and Orange Army. [MSG Networks]
  • There was no confrontation between Johnny Boychuk and Jakub Voracek on Saturday afternoon. But Trotz hinted that he doesn’t think all is resolved between the two. [Newsday]
  • A three-goal second period gave the Sound Tigers the victory over the vaunted Syracuse Crunch. Four players, including Otto Koivula, had multi-point games and Jeremy Smith has a .961 save percentage over his last four starts. [Sound Tigers]
  • The Railers dropped their game against the Reading Royals yesterday, leaving them three points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. [RailersHC]

Standings/Magic Number Updates

Yesterday’s NHL scores include the Flyers continuing to actively hurt the Islanders this month by falling yet again to the Capitals. The Hurricanes beat the Canadiens in overtime, which is probably the worst result we could have hoped for from that game, but that’s gonna happen. Also, the Blue Jackets hammered the Canucks for a 5-0 win.

The magic number goes to 5 because, according to Eric Hornick’s deduction, Montreal’s OT loss helps them out. Montreal and Columbus play each other Thursday, so while each can max out at 100 points theoretically, only one of them will be able to get higher than 99 points. The Islanders cannot clinch Tuesday night by beating the Blue Jackets, but they can drop their magic number as low as 1.

The standings have the Capitals at 96 points, the Islanders at 95, the Penguins at 93, the Hurricanes at 91, the Canadiens at 88, and the Blue Jackets at 86.

Around the Game

  • The week ahead is highlighted by a clash of titans when the Bruins and Lightning face off tonight in Tampa, as well as Tuesday’s Islanders game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. Also, Carolina plays Washington twice this week as it tries to solidify its playoff position. If the playoffs started today, the Caps would host the ‘Canes in the first round.
  • The Black Girl Hockey Club continues to grow in size and impact; it now counts over 200 members in its ranks and its founder, Renee Hess, is looking to turn it into a nonprofit organization to help more kids of color get involved in the game of hockey. [NHL]
  • The Hurricanes pull out all the stops when they host Pride Night. [Yahoo!]
  • They’re also selling a beer, brewed by a local brewery, called The Surge. It’s made with sour cherries, which is brilliant considering what a man named for the fruit thinks of their celebration. [Yahoo!]