The New York Islanders last night hosted the San Jose Sharks in their first game in six days and their first game since returning from their brief COVID-19 shutdown.
It seemed like the Isles’ bad luck—it’s not just poor play and injuries—might finally have turned when Mathew Barzal scored off the rush just over a minute into the game and on the Islanders’ first shot on goal. It was the Isles’ first lead at UBS Arena at Belmont Park and their first lead since the one they held for like twenty seconds against the Tampa Bay Lightning two or three weeks ago.
Ultimately, though, that was the only goal that the Islanders scored. They looked gassed by the end, which makes sense; they have practiced only once since last Saturday. The Sharks tied the game midway through the first and won it 2-1 in overtime. The offensive woes continue, despite Ilya Sorokin’s strong play.
But they managed their first standings point in nearly a month and their first one at UBS Arena. Each point counts, and as Dom said in the recap yesterday, it’s progress—even though the ledger says nine straight losses.
About last night:
- Hey, it’s a point, right? [LHH]
- It was a much-needed point, to be sure. [3 Takeaways]
- Baby steps, folks. [Newsday]
- Nick Bonino had the game-tying goal for San Jose and Erik Karlsson scored the OT winner. [Rapid Recap]
- The headline on the NHL site read that the Isles’ skid hit nine games. [NHL]
- The Isles have now tied the record for NHL venue-opening futility at five games without a win, originally set by the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000. Lovely. [NYI Skinny]
- MSG color analyst Butch Goring missed last night’s game and will miss the next few too because he had shoulder surgery. Former Isles’ color analyst and current traitor Joe Micheletti filled in for him last night, and A.J. Mleczko will take the rest of the games he’ll miss. Get well soon, Butchie. [Newsday]
- Listen to Barry Trotz.
Trotz Postgame Availability pic.twitter.com/SzB94eFbBR— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 3, 2021
- Kieffer Bellows is out of COVID protocol; the only one left in protocol is Casey Cizikas. Also, Zdeno Chara was back on the ice. [Isles DTD]
- It seems like Grant Hutton and Sebastian Aho earned a spot over Robin Salo in the current patchwork top six. [Newsday]
- The Islanders, unsurprisingly, are a team desperate for wins. [Newsday]
- Staple’s mailbag was so large that they split it into two bags. The second bag ponders why the Isles never gave a real shot to Anatolii Golyshev and also ponders their playoff chances. [The Athletic Mailbag Part II]
- Because the big Islanders were decimated, so too were the Baby Isles. But they have snapped their seven-game slide. [The Bridgeport Report]
- WATCH: Old friend alert: Brian Strait was a guest on the Elev802 podcast and discussed scouting and his time playing at Nassau Coliseum. [YouTube]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Florida Panthers falling behind 4-0 to the Buffalo Sabres only to rattle off seven unanswered goals over the last two periods to win 7-4. Also, the Minnesota Wild beat the New Jersey Devils in regulation, and the Ottawa Senators somehow did the same on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes.
- A rumor surfaced that the Arizona Coyotes have been exploring a sale that would lead to their relocation to Houston. But they vehemently deny the rumors—always a sign that they are being honest. [theScore]
- The Sabres acquired goalie Malcolm Subban from the Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations. [NHL]
- Speaking of the Sabres, Jack Eichel is skating already, less than three weeks after receiving his desired neck surgery. [NHL]
- At the season’s quarter pole, Greg Wyshynski ranks teams in tiers based on their contender status, because we do tiered ranking now. [E$PN+]
- Another primer on why the NHL media doesn’t ever shut up about American Thanksgiving this time of year. [TSN]
- The Detroit Red Wings may not yet be there, but they’re building from within and should be in the mix in the next few seasons. [theScore]
- Stan Fischler, after retiring, moved to Israel; news to me! He is Stateside for about a month, or two, though, visiting after getting inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. [Newsday]
- The Maven’s a busy guy: He spoke to Matt Loughlin about how the Devils look thus far. [Devils]
- The Chicago Blackhawks organization has filed a motion to dismiss the case that Kyle Beach filed against them. It seems unlikely that the judge would decide the motion before the parties’ scheduled mediation on December 15. [TSN]