Fortunately, since it’s not a real series, all that really matters is the points. So the Islanders can, and really need to, salvage two more points tonight as they close out the pre-All-Star portion of the schedule, which has featured a string of rough results.
Thanks to the coming break, tonight is the Islanders’ final game in January — a month where they have only three victories in 10 tries so far (3-5-2). The situation leaves the Islanders six points behind Pittsburgh for the Metro’s second home-ice playoff seed and with Carolina, Columbus and Philadelphia each breathing down the Isles’ necks for that third spot.
So regardless of opponent, tonight is kind of a big deal. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
- For the Islanders, it’s a chance to make amends. [Newsday]
- For both teams, there is still much to prove. [AM New York]
- It’s been a week of hell, as Noel and Dan P. discussed in their latest IslesBuzz podcast [LHH]
- Which is why the Isles look like they could use the upcoming break. [NY Isles Blog]
- Prospect Report: Reece Newkirk’s 17-game points streak finally came to an end. It’s a season-long streak for the WHL. Meanwhile, KHL all-star Ilya Sorokin’s CSKA Moscow has already clinched a playoff spot. Sounds like that young man needs a new challenge. [Isles]
- Speaking of Sorokin, he’s popular with the babushkas (grandmas), but he chose goaltending because he doesn’t like to run and the equipment is beautiful. Naturally. [KHL]
- A look inside the Charles B. Wang Cup youth international hockey tournament. [Isles]
- Evgeni Malkin scolded Penguins fans because they are stupid or something. [Score]
- This season teams are routinely outscoring “expected goals” models. Is something different going on with defensive play around the league? Is it the reduced goalie equipment? [TSN]
- What is Ken Holland looking for as the Oilers approach the trade deadline with a chance to finally make the playoffs again? [Sportsnet]
- Brooksie gives the Devils’ firing of Ray Shero the ol’ “Make no mistake” treatment. [Post]
- Gerard Gallant took his shocking firing by Vegas in stride, and at age 56 he says he’s not done yet. [NHL]
- The Maple Leafs are “immature” and lack discipline, their new coach says. [Sportsnet]
- The Jets will be without Adam Lowry for a month. [TSN]
- Patrick Kane already has 1,000 NHL (regular season) points. [NHL]