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Islanders Gameday News: Lehner excited for playoffs; Dal Colle or Kuhnhackl?

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Also, the Isles can do it big tonight.

NHL: New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres
Hoping for a better result than this one.
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Islanders have a chance to clinch a playoff spot on home ice, something that hasn’t happened in 17 years. Not since the team was led by Alexei Yashin, captained by Michael Peca, and coached by Peter Laviolette.

The Islanders must earn at least as many points as the Canadiens earn in their game against the Jets tonight. Any combination of two points gets them a playoff berth. The easiest way to do it? Just win, baby.

Your FIGs can go here for this one. The Sabres drop the puck with the Islanders at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the Coliseum.

Islanders News

  • It has been a wondrous season for Robin Lehner, his first with the Islanders, and he is looking forward to the challenge of the playoffs — he’s only played in two playoff games in his career, back in 2013 with the Senators. He’d also enjoy clinching against his former team in Buffalo. [Newsday]
  • Coach Barry Trotz doesn’t have to make too many decisions for the playoffs, but assuming Tanner Fritz will be available, one he will have to make is to choose between rookie Michael Dal Colle and veteran Stanley Cup winner Tom Kuhnhackl. Trotz leans toward the veteran, but Kuhnhackl generally doesn’t bring much to the table. Dal Colle, at least, defends well. [Newsday]
  • Dan and Noel talk about the wild win in Winnipeg on and the recent NCAA signings on this week’s Isles Buzz.
  • The Islanders’ scoring woes, especially on the power play, feature heavily in the first few items in Dom Luszczyszyn’s 31 Stats, but it gives me solace to learn that it’s not for lack of trying: they’re 5th in scoring chances and 7th in high-danger chances since the All-Star Break, and in the month of March? 3rd in scoring chances and 1st in high-danger chances.
  • Oliver Wahlstrom and Bobo Carpenter were spotted at Sound Tigers practice yesterday, and there’s a chance they play tonight against the Charlotte Checkers and/or tomorrow against the Hershey Bears. [Soundin’ Off | CT Post]

This is pretty awesome:

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins falling to the Predators in regulation (thank you Pekka Rinne!). The loss leaves Pittsburgh two points behind the Islanders for second place with the same number of games played (97 and 95). Also, the Blues and Golden Knights clinched their playoff spots despite losing in regulation to the Rangers and Wild, respectively. That was because the Avalanche defeated the Coyotes in the shootout.

  • Winnipeg’s Kevin Hayes credits the Rangers, his longtime team, for making him into a professional. [NY Post]
  • On this date 30 years ago (okay, this date 30 years and 1 day ago) the first Russian player ever signed with an NHL team with Russia’s blessing: Sergei Priakin, picked by the Flames late in the 1988 draft, signed with them on March 29, 1989. [The Athletic]