Well, it finally came. The Islanders were finally rewarded for an uptick in their recent overall effort and organization, in the form of two points. Mind you, just as in the middle meeting with the Rangers and the third-period collapse in D.C., the Islanders had some alarming moments of sloppiness, including an ugly spell late in the second period sitting on a 3-0 lead, plus some undisciplined play by several at various moments late in the third.
But as the coach and several players noted in post-game relief, it was the end to an extremely busy stretch in the schedule. Breakdowns are inevitable in any game, but particularly in that setting.
Two big points to take into the break.
Barry Trotz wasn’t happy with Mathew Barzal’s — “he knows why” but presumably related to this play late in the second, and benched him, but he was happy with the team’s overall play:
“I'm ecstatic with the two points, we were exhausted and we had to battle through it. It was huge for our psyche and the break. We’ve had so many games in a short period of time and we’re mentally and physically fatigued, the break is going to do us good.” - Barry Trotz pic.twitter.com/LQUEVoxTyw— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 22, 2020
Query: Was he happy with Brock Nelson’s misguided play before the Rangers got a goal late in the second, which was thankfully overturned on an offside challenge? Because that kind of play was coming from everyone during a miserable five minutes to close the middle period. The Isles looked ripe to blow another three-goal lead there.
- More about last night: Could’ve been a shutout before some late penalties made it interesting. Josh Bailey had three points, Thomas Greiss stopped 40. [LHH | NHL | Isles | Post | NYI Skinny]
- We have reached the “But he can contribute from the bench” era of Henrik Lundqvist’s career. [Post]
- Ryan Strome’s career season as he heads toward an arbitration-eligible RFA period puts him in an interesting position for the rebuilding Rangers. [Blueshirt Banter]
- Bridgeport Report: The Sound Tigers are still trying to climb back into it, with two more games to go before the AHL All-Star break. [Isles]
- The MTA has approved funds for several LIRR projects including key upgrades for the Belmont arena. [Newsday]
Last night’s other NHL scores include the Hurricanes winning in regulation and the Flyers shutting out the Penguins.
- Should the Flyers try to trade for Jeff Carter, who doesn’t want to be traded? [Broad Street Hockey]
- What trade bait do the Canadiens have to offer? Ilya Kovalchuk, for one. [TSN]
- There are a bunch of events for this weekend’s All-Star skills competition, and all of them have obnoxious sponsor names. [NHL]
- Dan Kelly was a broadcasting legend and his son still broadcasts Blues games. To mark the return of the All-Star Game to St. Louis, Kelly the Younger will introduce replays of All-Star Games from 1970 (announced by his father) and 1988, the last time the event was held there. [Blues]
- The Panthers will host the next All-Star game. [Athletic]
- Connor McDavid probably saved this season by electing for rehab last summer rather than knee surgery for his PCL injury. [TSN]
- Lots of coach firings this season...how have their teams fared? [Sportsnet]
- The two most famous Canadian fixtures of the 2010s Blackhawks renaissance had a brotherly quarrel. [NHL]
- A Q&A with John Tavares on Mike Babcock, being a dad, and screwing over a franchise with indecision. (Okay, I made up that last part; I just skimmed it, and his thoughts on a perfect day are as interesting as his thoughts on Mike Babcock, which is to say...) [Sportsnet]
- The Buffalo Beauts are making connections with the community. [Ice Garden]
- The very strange Seattle arena save-the-roof construction projects is officially underway. [NHL]