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Islanders Gameday News: Ahead of Buffalo’s visit, Wahlstrom’s development pleases Trotz

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Here come the Sabres. They’ll be staying through the weekend.

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NHL: FEB 22 Sabres at Islanders
New blood vs. old blood. Kyle!
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the final three times this season, the Islanders will host the Sabres for a long weekend. The three-game set at the Coliseum opens tonight and closes with Saturday and Sunday matinees, the latter getting the noon run on NBC.

Much like Tuesday in New Jersey, these three games pose a trap. The whole hockey universe has been scrutinizing Buffalo lately, speculating that the franchise may be headed for yet another rebuild. On top of that, the Sabres have been getting roasted for their ineptitude and one could imagine that they have heard the chirps. I mean, just watch Steve Valiquette absolutely embarrass them two nights ago:

Very blunt from someone that I’m pretty sure is normally subtle in Valiquette. (I think he’s subtle, anyway; I do not watch too many Rangers games.)

So, the Islanders need to be ready for an angry team tonight. The Sabres, despite their struggles, still possess a bundle of natural talent, at least among their forwards. That power play can be deadly. And if they’re pissed enough, they could come out flying.

The Isles sort of need to get these points this weekend. To keep pace in the bearish Mass Mutual® East Division, they cannot afford to lose points to teams like the Sabres. At the very least, they have to maintain their status as the only NHL team yet to drop a game in regulation on home ice.

UPDATE: Here are today’s FIGs. Apologies for the delay. Please refrain from throwing tomatoes at me.

Islanders News

  • The team site previews the first of three with Buffalo.
  • Newsday previews the whole set, and also shows Barry Trotz’s love for Oliver Wahlstrom’s development. [Newsday]
  • This season, Nick Leddy seems to have rediscovered his offensive touch. [Empire]
  • A Long Island father and his son, both die-hard Islanders fans, have been working to build UBS Arena. They are on the construction team together. [Newsday Article | Newsday Video]
  • On this (yester)day in Isles history: the Islanders raise to the rafters Mike Bossy’s no. 22 (1992). [Islanders]
  • LISTEN: The Isle Seat Podcast discusses the win over the Devils and the emergence of Wahlstrom.
  • LISTEN: Andrew Gross hosts Brian Compton on this episode of Island Ice to chat about the season thus far. [Newsday]
  • WATCH: As part of the team’s global outreach, the Islanders highlighted some of its fans in Brazil. Brazil! I cannot believe there are multiple Isles fans in Brazil, but that rules. [Islanders]

This seems nice!

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Capitals knocking off the Bruins in a shootout and the Golden Knights smacking around the Wild to the tune of 5–1.

  • It was Zdeno Chara’s first time visiting Boston as a member of the Capitals. They gave him a warm welcome. [NHL]
  • Minnesota healthy-scratched Zach Parise for the first time in his Wild career and the first time since he was a rookie. The other night, his long shift at the end of regulation cost his team a point. [NBC | Hockey Wilderness] He didn’t agree with the decision. [The Athletic]
  • Pierre LeBrun investigates to what extent the Hurricanes and Dougie Hamilton have discussed his next contract, as well as John Tortorella’s job safety. [The Athletic]
  • Charlie Coyle missed last night’s game for Boston after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. [SCOC]
  • Carey Price is “regrouping” following the Canadiens firing his long-time goaltending coach, Stephane Waite. [NHL]