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Islanders Gameday News: A regulation win would do wonders for Isles

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It would keep them in the race for the East Division title AND deal a devastating blow to the Rangers’ playoff hopes.

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
FIGHT!
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders tonight will face a steep challenge when the hot, fast, and offensively talented New York Rangers skate on the Coliseum.

Three of the Isles’ next six games will be against the Rangers—the other three against the Washington Capitals—so the Islanders will need to be ready to play. Fortunately, they have been ready to play every game they have played in the last few weeks.

They will really need to bring their top defensive game, though. The Rangers’ speed has given the Islanders trouble, especially lately with the Rangers starting to feel it. And the Rangers must be feeling it; they just swept a four-game series against the New Jersey Devils. Yes, it’s the Devils, but winning four straight against one team is still difficult.

The Rangers’ playoff hopes remain a bit dim, as the Islanders and Washington Capitals did them no favors by allowing the Boston Bruins to walk all over them en route to a six-point weekend. But they keep winning, so they cannot yet be declared dead.

An Isles’ regulation win, however, would dig the blade a bit deeper.

FIG Picks go here. Look out for a new episode of Islanders Anxiety this morning. I think that Dan and Mike went underwater, or something.

Islanders News

  • The team site previews another Battle of New York.
  • The Isles may have an important three-game set coming up against the Capitals. But their focus is on tonight’s match-up with the Rangers. [Newsday]
  • In this week’s Back & Forth, Dan says what we’re all thinking: We’re worried about this skid and the teams below the Isles continuing to climb up the standings. [LHH]
  • Arthur Staple looks for six problems with the Isles of late and how to fix them. First-line Travis Zajac is one problem, but first-line Leo Komarov is the solution. [The Athletic]
  • LISTEN: On this episode of Island Ice, Andrew Gross welcomes NBC analyst Pierre McGuire. I am not dreading it as much as you think I would; McGuire has not been so bad, lately.
  • Let’s check in on the kids: Reece Newkirk remains hot, while Robin Salo performs well in the SHL playoffs. The Liiga playoffs begin soon, too, for Ruslan Iskhakov. [Isles Prospect Report]
  • This (yester)day in Isles history: Pat LaFontaine scored 8:47 into the fourth overtime to end the Easter Epic and capture the Patrick Division semifinal from the Caps (1987).
  • The Isles’ Community Star of the Week is New York Metro Blind Hockey, which provides opportunities for visually impaired children to learn how to play hockey. [Islanders]
  • I believe that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Coliseum’s capacity can go up to 25% full in time for the playoffs. [News12]

Throw back some Jager, Zajer: His first Isles’ goal is the Shot of the Week.

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include nothing from our lovely division, but the Tampa Bay Lightning outlasted the Carolina Hurricanes in a battle of Central Division titans. Also, even though the San Jose Sharks lost in overtime to the Vegas Golden Knights, the night will be remembered because Patrick Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s all-time games played record.

  • Joe Thornton, Marleau’s long-time teammate and who was selected first overall in 1997 before Marleau was selected second overall, has no plans to match Marleau’s record.
  • Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler has been suspended two games for kneeing Zach Hyman of the Toronto Maple Leafs. [NHL | Sportsnet]
  • Hyman suffered only an MCL sprain and will miss at least two weeks. [NHL]
  • The Leafs tonight may healthy-scratch William Nylander for being late to a meeting on Monday. [Sportsnet]
  • Read how Nathan MacKinnon became Nathan MacKinnon. [The Athletic]
  • After the trade deadline, what does the Capitals’ expansion list look like? T.J. Oshie may be a target for the Seattle Kraken. [The Athletic]
  • The Devils signed 2020 first-round pick Alexander Holtz to his three-year entry-level contract. [Sportsnet]
  • Alex DeBrincat fell all the way to no. 39 overall at the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s what scouts and executives around the league (at the time) thought in passing on him. [The Athletic]
  • Florida-born Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun hopes to earn an Olympic spot—for Team Canada. His dad, Jeff, is a Canadian that played in the NHL. [ESPN]