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Islanders-Bruins Playoff News: Trotz on confidence, lines and the Varlamov boost

The teams return to practice in preparation for Thursday’s Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum.

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New York Islanders v Boston Bruins - Game Two
You were this close.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Do you all ever have bizarre playoff dreams? I had the most nonsensical one a few nights ago, between Games 1 and 2:

Apparently Ilya Sorokin practices at a separate, hidden rink behind some factory (in my dream), and no one knows where it is, but I got a tip from an 11-year-old fan about it, so I showed up at the rink to skate, and at the front window they said, “No, Ilya doesn’t take shots from the public” (in my dream), and I said I didn’t want to shoot on him, just to use the other half of the rink, and they kicked me out, but later I saw him smoking a cigarette by himself (in my dream) in the rinkside bar that serves really bad wings. He didn’t say anything but he smiled and assured me he is happy (in my dream).

Playoffs mess with your brain, man. (That same night, my 5-year-old said he had a dream there was a little bug in his room that turned into a giant bug “as big as your hand, Daddy.” But he didn’t watch the end of the game, so I don’t know, man. I don’t know. Might not be a connection to any of this, but then maybe that bug represents the black cloud on Brad Marchand’s soul, you know?)

Anyway, back to reality (assuming this playoff series is taking place in our shared universe and not an alternative one where Mike Milbury quietly retired after his playing career): It’s a rare second off day in this playoff series, but the Islanders and Bruins will practice today so there will be plenty of words flowing later on.

Yesterday was a true off day for both teams, but the coaches still spoke to media, and many post-Game 2 narratives were woven (not by the coaches, more because everybody has space to fill between games).

Islanders vs. Bruins News

Here is your hype video:

So, on with the news and headlines then...look for a new Islanders Anxiety podcast this morning as Casey Cizikas saved Mike’s House Divided.

  • The league has spoken, and Jake DeBrusk draws a $5,000 fine for crosschecking Scott Mayfield in the back of the head. [LHH | NHL | SCOC]
  • From the coaches’ availability, we have Barry Trotz fielding questions about Oliver Wahlstrom (still day to day but maybe...), the Barzal line, and feeling good about their game, and Bruce Cassidy being walked into a “Is Tuukka Rask injured?” narrative. [LHH | Newsday]
  • More breaking down of that Trotz availability, talking about the team drawing confidence from the win and how they handled rebounding from blowing the lead. [NHL | Newsday]
  • And on how to approach the Bruins’ top line. [Post]
  • Neil Best column, in praise of Casey Cizikas. [Newsday]
  • A wee bit more about Cassidy on Rask. [NHL] Whatever the case, they need Rask to be better, presumably not scooping pucks into his own net. [Athletic]
  • A wee bit more about Trotz’s comments on the Barzal line. [AMNY]
  • Semyon Varlamov’s calm return to the net provided a boost. [Isles]
  • Five takeaways from Game 2 by Staple. [Athletic]
  • Two cheers for the Isles power play in Game 2. (Except when they could’ve ended it late in regulation.) [Empire Sports]
  • “Everybody makes mistakes,” the REM song about the Bruins. They must make sure their Game 2 loss doesn’t snowball. [Full Press Hockey]
  • FYI Game 5 on Monday now has a 6:30 p.m. EDT start time. [Isles]
  • In which Trotz’s answer to a request to compare the Bruins top line with the Penguins top line is interpreted as “shade” by Pittsburgh media, because PenguinsGottaPenguin. (How DARE he suggest Jake Guentzel and what’s-his-name aren’t as good as Pastrnak and Marchand!) [Trib Live]


Now that the first round is finally, officially over (Thanks for catching up, Canada!), we’re in the phase where there are only one or two games a night, which always makes me sad because I live for playoff games. Last night the Lightning withstood a barrage to beat the Hurricanes and take a 2-0 series lead.

  • The Lightning Hurricanes lost Vincent Trocheck late, to friendly fire no less, and it “doesn’t look good.” [NHL]
  • The Jets and Canadiens kick off their series tonight. Here’s a preview from Arctic Ice Hockey. And at Habs Eyes on the Prize, they’re marveling at the experience three key young players got in the first round (once they were allowed to play). [HEOTP]
  • The NHL Draft Lottery is tonight. Buffalo has the “best” odds for the top pick, which you know means they’ll end up selecting third. [NHL]
  • The Canadiens took on the personality of their calm, steady star goalie. [Athletic]
  • The Vezina trophy finalists were announced. These are voted on by the GMs, who pretty much just picked 1-2-3 in “wins.” (Fleury, Grubauer, Vasilevskiy, whatever) [NHL]
  • Trotz, of course, disagrees with leaving Varlamov off that list. [Newsday | Post]
  • How did a once-promising Flames season go belly up? [Athletic]
  • Even some of the most sober and un-obnoxious Leafs fans are saying “time is up” on the current top-heavy core project, and it’s time to trade...well...gotta be Mitch Marner. [PPP]
  • More on the Leafs’ graves: Mirtle on how you fix this crap when this crap is what everyone said was going to work. LeBrun on what other execs say about them. [Athletic] (I love that their oldest top-salary star has a no-trade clause, like that would be the first choice if only they could.)
  • Zach Parise isn’t going anywhere if he has anything to say about it. Who could’ve ever imagined that a contract might look ugly nine seasons in? [NHL]