For the Islanders, it is imperative that they take two points from a bottom-feeding opponent in the other conference; likewise, the Kings organization would probably be okay if they came out of tonight’s game without a point, as it helps improve their draft odds.
But, as we know, hockey players have a lot of pride. And the Kings, many of whom wear proudly the pride of being a Stanley Cup champion, almost certainly do not want to be rolled over. So while this game, on the surface, could and should be a guaranteed two points for the Islanders, we know that is not the case.
Given the ever-toughening schedule the Islanders face over the next couple months, they’d be wise to not let these two points slip away.
- The first two games out of the break have been a testament to the Isles’ team resiliency, which is a good way to offset having lesser talent than their foes. [Newsday]
- Not to mention, playing with a high degree of intensity is necessary to stay in the tighter-than-they-expected-despite-their-17-game-point-streak playoff race. [The Athletic]
- Kieffer Bellows is from the same town that Anders Lee hails from: Edina, Minnesota. That and six other facts about the newest Islander. [Islanders]
- Besides Bellows, what are the other Islanders prospects up to lately? Well, Ruslan Iskhakov had a big week, for one. Ilya Sorokin was named KHL goalie of the month, for another. [Prospect Report]
- The Sound Tigers hosted the Syracuse Crunch yesterday morning and lost 3-2, but Cole Bardreau scored and Josh Ho-Sang assisted on it before scoring a goal of his own. [Soundin’ Off pregame | Sound Tigers postgame]
- It has been a season of lows and extreme highs for Bardreau, but he’s just looking to stay healthy this season. [CT Insider]
An update on how the Isles’ playoff chances looked entering play yesterday, according to the models (but not the sexy kind):
#Isles Playoff Chances - 2/5— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) February 5, 2020
MoneyPuck - 74.9%
HockeyViz - 79%
The Athletic - 78%
Change since 2/2 - +3.60%
Last night’s NHL scores were the Rangers beating the Maple Leafs 5-3 and the Bruins beating the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.
- Immediately after that loss, one that might have been avoided with even average goaltending, Toronto went out and acquired goalie Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from Los Angeles in exchange for forward Trevor Moore and two mid-round picks. [PPP]
- VIDEO: Things have been miserable in Buffalo this season and for pretty much all of Jack Eichel’s career. The Toronto rumor mill ponders whether Eichel would request a trade from the Sabres if this continues because they can’t help themselves.
- Jeremy Bracco, a talented but small Leafs prospect from Long Island, was out of the Marlies’ lineup for “personal reasons.” [PPP]
- Justin Braun, a summer trade acquisition from the Sharks, has been key to the Flyers’ defensive turnaround this season. [BSH]
- Still nothing Islanders-related in this edition of 31 Thoughts, but Elliotte Friedman’s column always has some juicy tidbits around the deadline. [Sportsnet]