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Islanders Playoff Gameday [*postponed*] News: Gotta ‘swing’ back

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After the Flyers took Game 2 in OT, New York faces a 1-1 split for the first time these playoffs.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Two
Pretend that time stopped right here.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

NOTE: This post has been updated, see below just before the headlines, with news that tonight’s game appears to be postponed.

Yesterday was...quite the emotional swing. Exhausting. And needs to quickly be forgotten.

I was stuck in an office, following emotions from despair to hope to disbelief and then to despair as narrated by Chris King, while taking some solace in the fact I was annoying any coworker who happened to engage me in a virtual meeting.

“What’s that sound?”
The radio.
“Why are you so jumpy?”
Playoffs.
“There’s hockey right now?”
Just tell me why you called or I will turn it up, and if the Islanders tie this up I will co-sign Chris King’s glee shredding your ear drums.

A brutal start and some regression-tolls-for-thee cracks in Semyon Varlamov’s sterling playoffs made Game 2 look like a lost cause 15 minutes in the first period. A steady comeback — deferred by an Anders Lee shot off the post and then threatened by an offside challenge on the equalizer — brought us back to life and had to give you those “something special’s happening” feels.

But the storybook ended with a thud, as the Flyers scored early in OT to win their first playoff overtime contest in eight years. Today’s second half of the back-to-back gives the Islanders a chance to wipe that memory away.

Tonight’s faceoff, in what Barry Trotz called a “swing” game, is a more humane 7 p.m. EDT.

UPDATE: It now looks like games tonight will be postponed. In case you’ve been living under a rock, after NBA, WNBA and MLB teams declined to play scheduled games yesterday in protest of on-going racial injustice. Today, after much discussion among players, it looks like the NHL will follow suit.

Islanders News

Recaps, about last night afternoon:

  • Steve takes us through the emotional swings. [LHH]
  • Barry says they share the blame and burden with Varlamov, who broke Billy Smith’s franchise record playoff shutout string before getting beaten and pulled. [NHL]
  • “Probably the most important game of the season,” said Kevin Hayes [NHL]
  • That’s two performances in a row where Trotz “didn’t like” significant stretches. [Newsday]
  • Impressive rally, but not enough. [Post]
  • Delayed gratification for the Flyers, who continue their epic run of not losing consecutive games. [Broad Street Hockey]
  • Trotz, Lee and Pageau discussed the comeback. [Newsday]
  • Everybody just calm down, because we should expect plenty more twists and turns in the series. [Post]
  • Both teams know they have to move past Game 2 quickly. “You can’t get the game that just happened. You’ve got to get the next one,” Trotz said. [NHL]

Life inside the bubble, with a focus on Josh Bailey: It’s weird to be “home” but not home for Toronto-area players. (But everyone is loving winning playoff games in Toronto, I suspect.) [Athletic]

Pretty sweet feature on a local fan who has a ton of game-used jerseys, including Nystrom’s 1980 Cup winner. [NY Sports Day]

Elsewhere

In the other games, the Lightning chased Jaroslav Halak and destroyed the Bruins, leading Halak backup Dan Vladar to get his NHL debut in the playoffs. And the Avalanche avoided a dreaded hole with their first win, 6-4 over the Stars, to pull that series to 2-1.

  • Vladimir Tarasenko, who left the bubble when his surgically (un)repaired shoulder did not hold up, will now face his third surgery on the shoulder and will definitely miss the start of next season. [NHL | Post-Dispatch] Tarasenko posted a thank-you to fans and a humane message to trolls (because people are terrible).
  • Islanders and Flyers players were asked about NBA teams, led by the Bucks in Milwaukee, striking in protest to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. Some of them hadn’t heard about the NBA movement, which broke yesterday as they prepared and participated in Game 2. (The WNBA and MLB also postponed games.) There was a hasty “moment of reflection” before the Bruins-Lightning game. Count Matt Dumba and Evander Kane among those disappointed by the NHL’s restrained response to this omni-present issue. [Sportsnet | Post] Bill Daly said he doesn’t expect any games to be postponed, as happened in other leagues. Former Islander Kelly Hrudey discussed his reaction on Sportsnet. Anson Carter was kind of put on the spot on NBC Sports, where he said he understands the NHL owners or players who don’t want to postpone games.
  • Remember that investigation into the Coyotes seeing prospects outside of the approved combine setting? The NHL finally reached its conclusion, and docked them: 2nd-round pick in this year’s draft and a 1st-round pick in next year’s. Gary Bettman concluded it was “grossly negligent” but not necessarily intentionally illegal. [NHL]
  • The Coyotes briefly acknowledge and say they have put protocols in place to, you know, not let the illegal crap happen again. [Coyotes]
  • Point/Counterpoint: Should the Blue Jackets keep going with John Tortorella? [Cannon]
  • Mike Green has retired. Remember Dougie Hamilton getting flak for visiting museums? It sounds like Green has discovered there’s more to life than hockey too. [Athletic]