Well, the day has arrived. The mental rest is over. The playoffs begin today, with Game 1 tonight at the Coliseum. Anxiety and Excitement: Level 10.
There are five games tonight, with staggered starts, and the Isles set for 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Yes, we are doing First Islanders Goal picks for the playoffs. No, the rules aren’t the same. Here’s Mike L.’s salute to our (repeat) regular season winner, Doctor Osty, along with rules on how to leave your picks during the playoffs. Good chance to jump in if you don’t normally. You can leave your Game 1 pick here, but please review the format rules first.
Islanders vs. Penguins Deep Dives:
- Carey highlights 10 Things to Watch in this series. [LHH]
- Travis looked at recent Penguins power play success, and an area to exploit 5-on-5. [LHH]
- Our counterparts at PensBurgh look at the series through previous matchups, line strategies and analytics. [PensBurgh] And a bit about each team’s tendencies.
- Noel and Dan P. spoke with Andrew Gross of Newsday to preview the series. [IslesBuzz podcast]
- The Athletic’s resident modeler’s model doesn’t look kindly on the Isles. [Athletic]
- A look at the different tendencies of goalies Matt Murray and Robin Lehner. [NHL]
- Staple talks to two current NHL coaches and one scout about what could turn the series. [Athletic]
Islanders vs. Penguins, Not Only But Also
- Barry Trotz, of course, is not naming his starter. But he’s had the right call in goal more often than not this year. [Newsday]
- How did the Islanders “culture change” take place? With collective commitment, some good dudes, a chip on the shoulder, a good coach, and a courageous new addition opening up about his personal struggles. [Athletic]
- He’s not nervous, he’s excited: Mathew Barzal on his first NHL postseason. [NHL]
- The Islanders need to take advantage of, well, home ice advantage. [Newsday]
- And Islanders fans are ready to do their part to make it so. [Newsday]
- The Penguins hope to have Brian Dumoulin ready for Game 1. [NHL]
- And they worked on their lethal power play before making the trip for Game 1. [Trib Live]
- Dan Of The Zeitgeist looked back at the many posts in our satirical series that involved the Penguins over the years. A reminder to have fun with what lies ahead. [LHH]
- PensBurgh asked me some specific questions about the series, and how Isles fans view things. [PensBurgh]
- Johnny Boychuk says power play? We don’t need no stinking power play. Sort of. Also: Trotz on losing the first two games with the Caps last postseason. [Post]
- Barry Trotz on facing the Penguins again and again. [Post]
- It’s been even longer without playoffs for Anders Lee, who was out injured for all of the 2016 run. He’s not looking back though. [Newsday]
- The Post’s traditional look at the series and pick. [Post]
- Down in Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers host Laval Rocket tonight. Jeff Kubiak, in the ECHL earlier this season, has become a staple, really asserting himself. [CT Post]
The Devils won the draft lottery last night because they have a secret weapon:
They talk about Gretzky’s 92 goals or Sittler’s 10 pts in one game as records that may never be broken. But winning 5 draft lotteries in your first 9 years in the league? In 2 different draft lottery eras, no less. That is a record that will stand forever.— Taylor Hall (@hallsy09) April 10, 2019
- Here’s the full lottery result. The Rangers also moved up, getting the 2nd overall pick. [NHL]
- The Lightning will have Victor Hedman back for Game 1 against the Blue Jackets. [NHL]
- Likewise, Joe Thornton is healthy and ready to go for the Sharks vs. the Knights. [NHL]
- Joel Quenneville’s hiring has already energized the Panthers (and ticket sales), and he’s ready to make a Trotzian impact. [NHL]
- Does Jeff Carter want to retire (no) and will he still be a King in September? [Mayor’s Manor]
- The first annual Hockey-Graphs NHL awards.
- A reminder of a little “that did not happen...did it?!” moment in NHL history, which was bizarre for those of us who lived through it: There was a power outage at ancient and creaky Boston Garden with the score tied 3-3 in Game 4. Instead of continuing the game, the NHL pretended that it never happened. With the Oilers up 3-0 in the series, they just wiped this one out and moved on to “Game 5” in Edmonton, yet kept the individual statistics. [SB Nation on YouTube]