Howdy folks, and happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I hope everyone is enjoying their day off (if you’re actually off).
The New York Islanders often have a matinee game on MLK Day. They do not this year.
Instead, they will host the Philadelphia Flyers at a normal game time, 7:30 p.m. ET. That way, if you are working today, you can still catch the game. Sorry, kids who wanted to watch the whole game but aren’t allowed to stay up that late.
It’s a home-and-home with the Flyers; the Isles will head to Philly to play their one single road game before coming home until the All-Star break. Coming off a loss to the Washington Capitals in which they looked mostly listless, the Islanders surely will want to get back on the right foot by taking a couple of wins from a wounded opponent.
About Saturday afternoon:
- The Caps ended a four-game skid with Vítek Vanêček’s shutout. [NHL]
- The early goal from Tom Wilson held up as the game-winner. [LHH]
- And once the Capitals took the lead, they suffocated the Islanders’ offense. [Newsday]
- It’s a shame, too, that the Islanders’ offense dried up because Semyon Varlamov played superbly, stopping 34 shots. [Newsday]
- Adam Pelech showed why he was named an All-Star, but he needed more help. [The Athletic]
- They just had so few scoring chances all afternoon. [NY Post]
- The loss was a bit of a reality check for the Islanders, who still need something of a miracle to make the playoffs despite how much better they have played (when they have played, that is). [NY Post]
Onto other stuff:
- A preview of today’s game with the Flyers. [Islanders] They may have Barry Trotz and Ryan Pulock available to them.
#Isles with an optional morning skate tomorrow at 10:30 AM ahead of their contest with #Flyers.— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 16, 2022
HC Barry Trotz and defenseman Ryan Pulock (LTIR) are eligible to be activated out of COVID-19 protocol tomorrow, if asymptomatic throughout stay.
Went into protocol on Jan. 11.
- Tomorrow’s game in Philly is an ESPN+/Hulu streaming exclusive.
#Isles game vs. Flyers tomorrow - NOT THE ONE TONIGHT - is an ESPN+ exclusive. That means it is not on traditional broadcast or cable television. Plan accordingly. @Buccigross and @KevinWeekes on the call.— Neil Best (@sportswatch) January 17, 2022
- Making their situation tougher, the Islanders are 0-4-0 against Metro Division playoff teams and 2-10-2 against all playoff teams. They play those teams a lot down the stretch. [Newsday]
- Isles GM Lou Lamoriello, who in 2011 drafted Reid Boucher as Devils GM, says that he had no knowledge of Boucher’s past sexual assault when he drafted him. Boucher recently pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual assault against a minor for two incidents that occurred in 2011. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: On Episode 185 of Islanders Anxiety, Mike and Dan discuss the loss to the Caps and the win over the New Jersey Devils. They also threw out trade scenarios for Jakob Chychrun, John Klingberg, and Hampus Lindholm. [LHH]
- LISTEN: On this episode of Hockey Press Pass, Chris Botta and Pat Boyle discuss recent games, answer questions, and preview an upcoming episode where they talk to Isles play-by-play broadcaster Jiggs McDonald, who says current Isles broadcaster Brendan Burke is “the best in the game right now.”
Yesterday, there was only one NHL game: The Vancouver Canucks beat the Capitals in regulation. On Saturday, though, there were 13 games—were it not for Covid-related postponements, all 32 NHL teams would have played Saturday. Among those games, the Florida Panthers shellacked the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 9-2, capping off a back-to-back for the Panthers in which they combined for 16 goals. Also on Saturday, the Edmonton Oilers melted down hilariously in the third period to blow a 3-1 lead and lose at home, 6-4, to the Ottawa Senators.
- DGB wrote all about the Oilers and whether this embarrassing loss, their sixth in a row, was rock bottom. Also, he wrote what everyone else has written about the Islanders: that they’re playing better but need to play basically at this pace to have a chance at a playoff spot.
- Jack Eichel may be back practicing with the Vegas Golden Knights, but owner Bill Foley says that Eichel is still “a few weeks” away from playing with them. [NHL]
- The Boston Bruins tomorrow night will retire the no. 22 of Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s breaker of the color barrier. On MLK Day, his former teammates remember his playing ability. [NHL]