I’ll admit that I thought when the Islanders finally ended their losing streak, it would not come from a 2-1 nail biter but in an overdue goal explosion — the kind where Anders Lee scores a couple (check), Mathew Barzal figures prominently (check), and another slumper like J-G Pageau or Oliver Wahlstrom (check, check) picks up an insurance goal.
I did not expect them to continue to bleed goals to keep in doubt a game they should have safely put away.
But the Isles have conceded lots of goals during their COVID & Injury March, and last night’s 5-3 win in Ottawa was no different. The shorthanded goal was particularly annoying, as they continue to give those up after being unblemished last season.
But the important thing: The 11-game winless streak is over. They finally got a win. They’re now just...um, 12 points out of a playoff spot (albeit with five games in hand on wild card holder Detroit).
About last night:
Barry Trotz post-game: “Nice to have a little life in the dressing room after the game. Music blaring, guys ribbing each other.”
"The way they stuck together and battled, I got to give them a lot of credit. Happy they got rewarded."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 8, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zHQc1WViLA
- Jenny shares relief, and — in honor of facing Jack Capuano’s team — calls out some passengers. [LHH]
- Captain Lee: “There are times where it never feels like it’ll go your way and the only way to get out of something like this is sticking together, sticking with the program, having each other’s backs.” [Isles 3 Takeaways]
- Trotz: “It’s incredible to think about what we’ve gone through in the last month. I’ve never gone through it. These guys have never gone through it.” [NHL]
- The Senators kind of blame their goalie: Felt like they didn’t give the Isles a lot, then they’d turn around and score. [Sun]
- How they scored. [Isles Rapid Recap]
- The end of the skid at 11 games, and relief for all concerned. [Newsday]
- An end to the Senators’ modest three-game win streak, and some goalie blaming. [Silver Seven]
Not only but also:
- As he talked about in the pre-game availability, Barry Trotz called Senators coach DJ Smith for advice about handling their COVID outbreak and postponement. [Newsday]
- In his latest podcast, Arthur Staple talks with Scott Gordon about signs of an Isles turnaround, and chat with Kevin Kurtz about taking over the Isles beat. [Athletic]
- Zdeno Chara was asked if this is his last visit (as a player) to Ottawa, where he blossomed after being traded by the Isles. [Newsday]
- The Isles game at Madison Square Garden that was postponed during the COVID outbreak has been rescheduled for March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. [Isles] Sounds like no word yet on rescheduling the game in Philly.
- William Dufour remains on fire and has an invitation to Canada’s WJC camp. [Isles]
- (Yester)day in Isles history: GILLIES 9 is retired in 1996, and in 1988 Al Arbour returned behind the bench. [Isles]
Personal aside: The latter was wild. The Isles had won the Patrick Division under Simpson the previous season, but so many dynasty members were gone. A losing streak — which would reach 12 games in the four games after Arbour took over — did Simpson in. My dad and I attended the sixth one, a jaw-dropping 8-0 loss to the Blues in St. Louis, still the biggest blowout I’ve ever witnessed in person. Man, we used to get tickets from a Czech mechanic who had a season-ticket holding customer...but we never knew if we were getting their tickets until a couple of hours before the game, which would lead to considerable “Dad...DAD...DAD...are we going?” nagging on my part. I like to think my dad kept a family motor pool of crappy used cars for that mechanic to service just so I could see live NHL hockey once in a while.
Last night’s NHL scores include the Smurfs winning their seventh in a row, the Hurricanes winning again, but the Blue Jackets lost to the Leafs.
- Jujhar Khaira was stretchered off after a scary check by Jacob Trouba. It honestly didn’t look predatory, Khaira had his head down a few beats too long as the puck got in his skates and Trouba had committed to the check. [NHL | Post] Reports from the hospital were good, though. [Sportsnet]
- TSN insiders speculate on stuff like the next (and old?) regime in Vancouver, and whether other NHL players are having second thoughts about the Olympics. [TSN]
- Jason Spezza was suspended six games for intentionally driving his knee into a guy’s head. [NHL] Spezza will appeal though, probably because pieces of crap like Marchand constantly get off with lighter suspensions while routinely treating fellow players like crap. [Sportsnet]
- On that conflict (great thing about bad NHL officiating: It leaves both teams pissed off), the big changes in Vancouver and Philadelphia, and more. [32 Thoughts]
- The Canucks owner says he was probably too optimistic and patient before finally making changes. [NHL]
- Guess we’re lacrosse passing from behind the net now. Trevor Zegras to Sonny MIlano. [NHL] Zegras was shocked that it worked. [NHL]
- The Flyers say they hope Mike Yeo rights the ship, which means they believe they can. So which trade targets might be on their radar? [Broad Street Hockey]
- Riley Nash and Kevin Connauton were claimed off waivers, proving it really can happen. [Sportsnet]