The New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights are not currently ravaged by COVID-19 cases, which puts them nearly in the NHL minority, so expect their afternoon game at UBS Arena to go on as scheduled today at 2 p.m. EST.
Across the league, teams are experiencing what the Isles experienced, in waves, but the NHL and NHLPA are continuing on where they can. That includes the Golden Knights’ swing through the northeast, where they previously dispatched the Bruins (4-1 Tuesday), the Devils (5-3 Thursday) and Rangers (3-2 in a shootout Friday).
Their trip concludes at the currently still-full-capacity new digs at Belmont Park, for what is a 11 a.m. start Vegas time. For Islanders fans and Robin Lehner, it’s also a chance to exchange in-person pleasantries, for the goalie who revived his career (and the Islanders) with a “f$%&ing playoffs baby” year, and the fans who lifted him up as he publicly discussed the mental health challenges that dogged him.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
Follow Vegas coverage at Knights On Ice.
- Previewing tonight: Kyle Palmieri did not skate yesterday, so consider that a possible scratch. [Isles]
- On Lehner: Today he revisits “the people that accepted me for who I am and the ones that supported me no matter what.” [Post]
- The Isles continue to prepare while knowing COVID may interrupt their schedule, such as Monday’s game vs. the Canadiens. [Newsday]
- Tales of Andy Greene (who will be honored for passing 1,000 games), including that Barzal line: “I wish that he was 10 or 12 years younger or at my age. I feel like at 24 me and him would have a blast together. His humor is so funny. It’s subtle, really subtle humor.” [Isles]
- Bridgeport ran up the score in Charlotte. The teams have a rematch this afternoon. [BP Isles]
Bridgeport wins 5-1 at Charlotte; rematch tomorrow afternoon. Five different scorers. Cornell DNP :-(— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) December 19, 2021
Spencer Knight 0-1, 5.00, .844 in his AHL career, probably ready to get back up to an easier league
Last night’s NHL scores include the Devils losing again in Detroit, the Flyers beating the Senators in overtime, and the Hurricanes winning for the umpteenth time.
- There were five games postponed from last night’s schedule as new teams joined the COVID-affected list: Leafs and Canucks postponed through the weekend, Bruins and Predators shut down until after Christmas.
- The omicron variant is considerably more transmissible than previous dominant variants, which is part of the equation as the NHL evaluates what to do next. [TSN]
- It’s not just players and team staff: NHL officials are also being swept up in COVID protocol. [Sportsnet]
- Brooks: Restoring last season’s protocols is great and all, but the league should be adjusting protocols for today’s reality. [Post]
- Scary scene in Dallas as Tanner Kero was stretchered off after a hit by Brett Connolly. [NHL]