The New York Islanders are playoff-bound. From this two-game series against the New York Rangers, the Isles needed two regulation wins to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They took care of business in two statement shutout wins.
The Islanders thoroughly controlled play in these last two games, making life fairly easy for Semyon Varlamov, who has not allowed a goal in three-and-a-half games, a new franchise record.
There is a week left in the Isles’ regular season. Of the five remaining games, four come against the East Division’s basement dwellers in the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. The Islanders currently trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by four points with a game in hand for the division lead; they also trail the Washington Capitals by two points while being even in games played.
The Penguins play the Philadelphia Flyers and the Sabres in their final four games. The Capitals play the Rangers, Flyers, and Boston Bruins in their last five games. What I’m saying is that home ice in the first round is not out of the question. Neither is winning the division, though that would require a bit more help.
At the very least, though, all that is left to figure out is the seeding. We can breathe knowing that the Islanders did not suffer an epic Mets-in-2007 collapse. And they made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02–2003-04. Life is good on Long Island.
Recaps from last night:
- Varlamov has been lights-out against the Rangers. [LHH]
- Anthony Beauvillier continues to be a Ranger-killer. [Islanders 5 Takeaways]
- Barry Trotz was proud of his boys. [Newsday]
- Ryan Strome says the Rangers learn something every time they play the Islanders. [NHL]
- This was the first time the Islanders and Rangers played one another in the month of May since the Isles swept them in the semi-final series in May 1981. [NYI Skinny]
- WATCH: You want to re-live that game, right? It was clinical. [Highlights]
- Here’s part of Trotz’s post-game presser; the rest is in the link in the tweet.
"Obviously with this building and the fanbase, and all that the Island represents with this franchise. It is built on that hard work, never give up attitude."— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 2, 2021
Trotz ➡️ https://t.co/OWPED9144I pic.twitter.com/yycSvCczXw
Onto the news:
- The Islanders prioritized their goals: first, make the playoffs, then go for home-ice advantage. Now they can focus on the latter. [Newsday]
- Varlamov thinks the shutout streak “is beautiful” for him and the team. [Newsday]
- Beating the Rangers in their final visit to the Coliseum carries its own meaning for the Isles. [Neil Best @ Newsday]
- The Sound Tigers on Friday topped the Providence Bruins in a shootout. They have not lost in regulation in five games. [Sound Tigers]
- Sound Tigers captain Seth Helgeson is the “definition of consistency.” [Sound Tigers]
Yesterday’s NHL scores include, of relevance to us, the Bruins beating the Sabres, the Devils beating the Flyers, and the Penguins shutting out the Capitals.
- So the Isles have clinched; how close are the rest of the races around the league? [ESPN]
- Connor McDavid is on pace to hit 99 points in this abbreviated season after his performance in the Edmonton Oilers’ victory over the Calgary Flames. [NHL]
- Auston Matthews recorded his 38th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Vancouver Canucks. [NHL]
- Montreal Canadiens’ prospect Cole Caufield scored his first NHL goal and it was the overtime winner for the Habs over the Ottawa Senators. [NHL]
- Ryan Miller, who is retiring after this season, won his final home game with the Anaheim Ducks against the Los Angeles Kings. [NHL]
- Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley likes his team’s chances this postseason. Apparently, they have a secret weapon. [The Athletic]
- The Seattle Kraken is now an official franchise. Their next step: prepare for the expansion draft. [The Athletic]
- The Canucks have placed on leave Jake Virtanen after allegations of sexual misconduct. [NHL]
- After Nova Scotia failed to host the IIHF Women’s World Championship, Alberta looks to be next in line. [Sportsnet]