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Islanders News: Capitals forced to smell what the Brock is cooking

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The Islanders’ effort is finally rewarded with a late Brock Nelson goal and a sterling shutout from Varlamov

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Hug line!
Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

In last night’s game thread, a common sentiment revolved around dread, basically: “Hate when they play this well and don’t score. You know what’s coming next...”

Except it didn’t go that way. In some ways we’re still getting used to the Trust The Trotz Process Isles, where things don’t always turn up crappy even after a great effort. Last night was close, like could-go-either-way close in the usual hockey sense, but the Islanders were worthy recipients of two regulation points.

Even after Brock Nelson’s late goal finally gave them the lead, there were some hairy moments — but also moments where they could’ve added one or even two insurance goals, if not for Vitek Vanecek at the other end.

So the Islanders wake up today tied in points and regulation wins with the Capitals at the top of the division. They deserve to be there. The two teams will have three more (and consecutive) meetings later this month to further sift through their differences.

Islanders News

About last night, a 1-0 win over the Capitals:

  • Nailbiter, worth the wait [LHH | Newsday]
  • “I liked how we managed the puck, I liked the way we controlled it in the offensive zone, I liked the way we defended.” [Isles]
  • On balance, the Capitals agreed the Islanders had the edge in play. [NHL]
  • “Semyon Varlamov has now recorded four 1-0 shutouts as an Islander, matching Tommy Salo’s club record” [NYI Skinny]
  • Josh Bailey’s screen-and-tumble assist on the game-winner makes him just the 11th Islander with 500 points. [Newsday]
  • Good attitude. Stuck with it. Went the distance. Et cetera:

Milestone Time: Islanders Anxiety Sesquicentennial*

Where has the time gone? Somehow, Dan and Mike have reached their 150th episode of Islanders Anxiety. I love the humor, the passion and the humility they bring to it every episode. It’s not blowhard, “LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING” stuff; it’s just honest, insightful, very genuine fan discussion every time. The anxiety, the elation, the ebb and flow of fandom. They’ve done it through three head coaches, two arenas, one pandemic, the first playoff series win in 23 years (and now more playoff series wins than Lighthouse Hockey saw playoff appearances in its first eight years). The 150th episode discusses the wonder of Mat Barzal and the anticipation of some acquisition in the next week. Well done as always, guys. [LHH]

*Yes, sesquicentennial actually means 150 years, not episodes. But neither co-host will live that long, the Isles and nature will see to that.

Meanwhile:

  • Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and the other Exposables can’t exactly dwell on what might happen in the expansion draft, but yes they are aware. [Newsday]
  • ICYMI, the story for how Bobby Nystrom reached 900 games to finish his career. [Isles]
  • Arthur Staple took questions for a Q&A. The traditional question about Brent Thompson’s job security came up: “The Sound Tigers lineup is incredibly devoid of skill and NHL potential — Holmstrom, Bolduc and then it’s a big gap to Wilde, Hutton and some of the forwards. Skarek is still years away. Who exactly do they have that’s a dynamic talent?” [Athletic]
  • Some love for a couple of Islanders (Varlamov unanimous, Wahlstrom a mention) for various awards in the East Division (but not entire league). [NHL]
  • Chris King missed his third straight broadcast due to Covid protocol. Hope all turns out well. [Newsday]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Bruins dumping the Flyers, the Rangers piling up a bunch of goals again while beating the Penguins, and the Sabres finally winning on the road.

  • So many topics. [31 Thoughts]
  • Among them, the Sabres sitting Taylor Hall to protect the asset in expectation of a trade. [Buffalo News] (Of course they won, because Hall’s whole career is a curse.)
  • After the Kings lost a crucial head-to-head with the Coyotes, their coach gave them the old “don’t deserve to make the playoffs” treatment. [NHL]
  • Sean Monahan continues to struggle to produce, and so do the Flames. [Sportsnet]
  • Blah blah blah blah what will the Leafs do? (Choke, one assumes.) [Athletic]
  • Insider Trading discusses trade deadline speculation and...it’s not really about the Leafs! [TSN]
  • What we know about the Canucks’ Covid outbreak (not a lot), one week in. Vancouver is a major center of the more highly transmissable “Brazilian” strain, though. [Sportsnet]