The Islanders look to right the ship tonight in Philadelphia. The Flyers will host them two nights in a row. I don’t know if they really need all four points this weekend—but boy would they help. I will say that they need at least two, maybe even three from Philadelphia.
The first half of this road trip has been a disaster, but a few points from this back-to-back would go a long way toward preventing the Islanders from truly falling out of the race.
- A preview of the first of two.
- It was, undeniably, a meltdown. So where do they go from here? [The Athletic]
- Barry Trotz declared Thursday to be an “uppercut to the jaw” and that his players needed to support each other. Maybe this stretch lights a fire under their asses. [Newsday]
- The rest of the game spoiled it, but Oliver Wahlstrom’s first NHL goal on Thursday night felt “surreal.” [Islanders]
- LISTEN: Andrew Gross invites on to Island Ice Rangers beat writer Colin Stephenson to analyze why the Isles have been struggling to start the season. [Newsday]
- Lost in all this is that the Sound Tigers started training camp this week. Enjoy a late preview of training camp. [Islanders]
- Stan Fischler retells the tale of John Tonellil’s five-goal game against the Maple Leafs at the Coliseum on January 6, 1981. [Maven’s Memories]
Listen to Trotz:
“Keep looking forward. Stay in the fight. Take care of each other. If we do that, we have a team concept. We have a great group of guys. But we have to play better, that’s the bottom line.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 29, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5MkwQLrYB3
Only one game last night: a Blue Jackets road victory over the Blackhawks, 2–1.
- The NHL suspended Wild forward Kevin Fiala three games for boarding Kings defenseman Matt Roy. Not a smart play. [NHL]
- Putting a bow on the Patrik Laine–Pierre-Luc Dubois trade. [The Athletic]
- Justin Holl has become a reliable defender for the Leafs, lining up next to Jake Muzzin this season. That and a bunch of other little bits from around the league. [Sportsnet]
- 2020 no. 1 overall Alexis Lafrenière only scored his first NHL goal, and point, on Thursday night—an OT winner against the Sabres. Bust! [NHL]
- That winner gave the Rangers only their second win of the season; the first coming against the Isles in Game 2. What’s wrong with them? A deep dive into their ails. [ESPN]
- Evgeni Malkin has only three points through eight games this season and has been largely invisible. He doesn’t feel great about it, either. [NHL]
- Devils center Travis Zajac needs two more games to cross the 1,000-game threshold, though he is currently on the COVID-19 protocol list. [NHL]