The Sabres, not having played since January 31, had the early jump last night. But the Islanders squashed that jump by forging a 2–0 lead to end the first period. From there, it just became a game of keep-away—quite literally in the third period, in which the Islanders did not concede a shot. It was a Barry Trotz masterpiece, albeit against a Buffalo team relying heavily on its taxi squad.
The schedule compresses more from here, especially with the make-up games that needed to be added. As such, the Islanders again play the Sabres tonight in Buffalo.
- And a preview of tonight’s game.
- The Islanders have experience playing against a team that just came off a COVID-19 break. [Newsday]
- Mathew Barzal, who yesterday extended his point streak to nine games with an assist, is getting hot. So is his team. [NBCSN]
Mat Barzal breaking Irwin’s ankles was *chefs kiss* pic.twitter.com/qzZYa0LGnC— Kim M (@IslesGirl3) February 16, 2021
- The first line had not been a problem, however. The second and third lines needed a jolt. That jolt came from their new second line of Michael Dal Colle, Brock Nelson, and Jordan Eberle. [amNY]
- Josh Bailey had been a part of the problem on the original second line. But a move up to the first line worked out well for him: he had two beautiful primary assists last night and regained some confidence in the process. [Newsday]
- In this week’s Back & Forth, Dan predicts wins and questions the marriage between the Penguins and their new President of Hockey Operations, Brian Burke. [LHH]
- Though it was covered in more detail in yesterday’s Bits, GM Lou Lamoriello hit 1,300 career wins on Saturday night. He chatted about that and fans coming back to the Coliseum. [The Athletic]
- Might it be time to play the kids? [IslesBlog]
- The Sound Tigers went 0-3 over their first games in nearly a year. [Bridgeport Report]
- On the other hand, William Dufour has been lighting it up for QMJHL Drummondville. He and Ruslan Iskhakov had a good week. [Islanders Prospect Report]
Last night’s NHL scores include no other East Division games (Devils–Bruins was postponed) but the Maple Leafs led the Senators 5–1 last night and lost 6–5 in overtime.
- The Devils finally returned to practice, though. They will play the Rangers tonight. [NHL]
- The Leafs’ stunning loss gives them a chance to prove their mental fortitude. All this spin is making me dizzy. [Sportsnet]
- Maybe Alex Galchenyuk could help. The former third overall pick, who was just traded from Ottawa to Carolina, remained in Ontario, getting sent by the Hurricanes to Toronto. [Sportsnet]
- Sports and entertainment brands continue to adjust to life without fans in the building. Innovation! [Marketplace]
- The financial present is a little rough. The financial future, however, appears sound. [The Athletic]
- Except for the Coyotes. They are falling apart over in Arizona, and it starts from the top on down. Katie Strang dove deeper into what kind of dysfunction exists within the organization. [The Athletic]
- And finally, Ken Dryden weighed in on today’s hockey goalies in this piece for The Atlantic. His conclusion: they’re too damn big.