The New York Islanders will aim for their second win of the season in the fifth of this 13-game road trip to open the season. They’ll visit a team that, at least at the organizational level, is trying to be bad: the Arizona Coyotes, who have yet to win a game this season.
The ‘Yotes, you’ll remember, acquired Andrew Ladd’s contract along with a number of draft picks from the Islanders. It turns out that they also acquired Ladd himself because the embattled forward has suited up each of Arizona’s four games thus far, serving also as an alternate captain. He has even scored a goal, and has added an assist!
I’m happy for him. As Dom has said, it’s hard not to feel bad—as bad as one could feel for a guy earning $5.5 million per year on a professional hockey contract—for a guy like Ladd that wants to play but didn’t have a place in the Islanders’ lineup. Our memories of him are mostly negative, right down to his last Isles’ appearance, his massive gaffe at the end of Game 2 in the 2020 Eastern Conference Final. But at least he is able to finish his career by actually playing games.
Anyway, back to tonight: The Islanders really need to win this game. I don’t want to say it’s a “must-win” game, but it is as close to a must-win game as Game 5 out of 82 can be. They need the confidence boost, and frankly, they need the points. Even if finishing this trip at NHL .500 is the goal, you have to figure that the people making that calculus marked this game in the win column. So, please, Islanders, win.
Leave your First Islander Goal picks here.
- A preview of tonight’s game. [Islanders]
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who missed Thursday’s game with a stomach bug, practiced yesterday. [Isles DTD]
- Barry Trotz sounded angry with his second line after Thursday’s game, but he won’t indicate now whether he’ll actually break them up. [Newsday]
- Changes or not, it’s clear that everyone is kind of frustrated. [NY Post]
- The team has compiled a handy map of Islanders viewing parties in lower New York, with one in Connecticut. [Islanders]
- Stan Fischler remembers Rollie Melanson, the forgotten hero of three out of four Stanley Cup wins. [Maven’s Memories]
- Our friend Spizzwolf compiled some highlights from Oliver Wahlstrom’s rookie season. [LHH]
- And if you want to party with Sparky for Halloween, you can at Sparky’s Halloween Spooktacular! [Islanders]
- LISTEN: Former Isles goalie Kelly Hrudey, now a broadcaster on Hockey Night in Canada, was the guest on this episode of Hockey Press Pass, a podcast hosted by Chris Botta in which he interviews hockey broadcasters. [Audio | Brief blurb about Hrudey’s classiness]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Edmonton Oilers moving to 5-0-0 after beating the Vegas Golden Knights on the road and the San Jose Sharks remaining undefeated by besting the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road. Also, the Buffalo Sabres’ perfect season dream has come to an end.
- There is still no timetable for Sidney Crosby’s return to the Pittsburgh Penguins following his wrist surgery last month. [ESPN]
- The league and players may do away with COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic players like Nathan MacKinnon. [Daily Faceoff]
- The Carolina Hurricanes tried to troll the Montreal Canadiens with a website after the Canes beat Montreal on the road and after Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored his first Carolina goal against his former team. But the site got hacked. [ESPN]