It’s another busy week for the Islanders heading into the Christmas break, as the Islanders face the Colorado Avalanche in Denver tonight before heading back east for a back-to-back, facing the Rangers at the Garden Thursday (concluding their five-game road saga) and then hosting the Panthers on Friday.
First up: the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, who this past week lost to the Sabres before beating the Predators. If the Isles are true to their perplexing but admittedly entertaining 2022-23 form, they’ll put up a good effort against a good team tonight, then head home for a letdown in the lowly Smurfs’ rink.
They’ve got three standings points from three games so far on this trip, via the shootout loss in Boston and the regulation win in Vegas. Oh, how that regulation loss in Arizona smarts.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight vs. the Avalanche here.
- Previewing tonight’s game. Cory Schneider is with the team on emergency recall after Semyon Varlamov left late in the win over Vegas [Isles]
- Though he couldn’t finish the game, Varlamov made another case for more playing time with his win against the Knights. Now, it’s a question of health. Also, Hudson Fasching on making a push: “Eventually you’ve just got to say screw it and just go for it. That’s kind of where I’m at.” [Athletic]
- Also making a case? Simon Holmstrom, whose first NHL goal was a big one, and who continues to do the little things along the boards that make coaches smile. [Isles]
- On Holmstrom and Fasching’s contributions in Vegas. [Newsday]
- “Unbelievable” feeling for Holmstrom. [Post]
- Looking at trade needs: Andrew Gross says they could use an offensive winger and offensive defenseman. [Newsday]
Miss that guy (sometimes):
JORDAN EBERLE ARE YOU FOR REAL?!?— NHL (@NHL) December 19, 2022
A spinning + no-look + top shelf backhand and that's just a beautiful thing. pic.twitter.com/qP2fkUh2rw
Yesterday’s scores include Argentina getting past France in one of the most memorable World Cup finals of all time. Oh, and in hockey, it also included a couple of Metro results that continue to put pressure on the Isles: The Smurfs have somehow won seven in a row, blowing out the Blackhawks in Chicago, while the Canes have points in 11 straight.
- Gary Bettman teasing a higher raise in the cap before pulling back is perhaps his way of reminding the league and NHLPA that they could’ve avoided this continued squeeze with a mid-pandemic renegotiation. [Post]
- The Howe family is rooting for Ovechkin’s chase to pass Gordie. [NHL]
- The Oilers brass is evidently aware their D is inadequate and have discussed Klingberg and Edmundson. [TSN]
- Speaking of which, the Oilers signed preseason PTO Jason Demers to an NHL contract, though they expect he’ll continue mostly in the AHL. [Sportsnet]
- Like a teen romance gone bad, the Canucks are “confused” by their approach in their latest home loss. [Sportsnet]
Kirill Kaprizov said Ryan Reaves called him a few days ago and asked if he wanted to dress like an elf (Reaves was Santa). “Yeah why not. Let’s go.” Will he wear it again?” “Maybe next year.” https://t.co/8ECUCKV6Fe— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) December 18, 2022