The New York Islanders last night secured a huge home regulation win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was their second straight win at home by a 5-1 score while wearing their Fisherman Reverse Retros. Perhaps the luck of those jerseys has changed since debuting without a goal.
Last night’s results mean that only four points separate the second-place New Jersey Devils and sixth-place Islanders in the Metro Division. As of now, it appears more likely that five teams will come out of the Metro and only three will come from the Atlantic. But despite that, whoever is sixth in the division at the end of the year will miss. Wins such as last night’s—a thoroughly dominant regulation win over a red-hot divisional opponent ahead of them in the standings—will make the most significant difference in getting back over the cut line. It makes it even better that they were able to do it while dealing with significant injuries.
Recaps and whatnot:
- As I wrote above, it was a thoroughly dominant regulation win over a red-hot divisional opponent ahead of them in the standings. [LHH]
- Not to mention, it was the first time this month and the first time since the four-game winning streak around Thanksgiving that the Islanders won consecutive games. [Newsday] Andrew Gross had written earlier in the day about their desire to do just that. [Newsday]
- Between now and the All-Star Break is another critical stretch of the season. Playing their “best game of the year” is a good way to open it. [The Athletic]
- Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each had two goals apiece. [Rapid Recap]
- Hudson Fasching fit in well on the top line next to Barzal. Brock Nelson played, and Casey Cizikas returned and looked good as a winger. [3 Takeaways]
- Toss another one on the pile, though: Oliver Wahlstrom got injured on his first shift and did not come back. He hit Chad Ruhweedel and was then immediately hit by Pierre-Olivier Joseph. [NY Post]
- Highlights and box scores. [NHL]
- It was full-team dominance, too: “Six Islanders had at least four shots.” [NYI Skinny]
- Dedication right here. And very early indoctrination. Doing it right.
Our first star of the night. https://t.co/rYgIeRfvg0— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 28, 2022
Miscellaneous Isles bits:
- Cizikas and Nelson took the morning skate and participated in line rushes, so it seemed like they were going to be in. [Isles DTD]
- Aatu Räty played again last night as he “fight[s]” to stay in the lineup. I’d say that Cizikas lining up on Pageau’s right wing shows that Lane Lambert and Lou Lamoriello are giving Räty a chance. [amNY]
- Parker Wotherspoon also played in his second career game, and his NHL debut was worth the eight years he has spent in the minors. He, too, has looked solid. [Islanders]
- Andrew Gross empties the notebook on Wotherspoon’s moment, Nelson’s and Cizikas’s returns with Cizikas on the right wing, and Ilya Sorokin playing in his 100th career game. [Newsday]
- The Bridgeport Islanders lost to their hated rivals and Rangers affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, by a 7-3 score on home ice. Ryan Carpenter had a hat trick for Hartford. [B-Isles]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Rangers not showing up for a home shutout loss to the Capitals. Also, the Hurricanes extended their point streak to 15 games and earned their ninth straight win, a shutout of their own, over the Blackhawks (who have now lost 17 of 19, oof).
- The Columbus Blue Jackets were supposed to host the Buffalo Sabres, but they’re stuck in Western New York with all the snow. It was postponed. [TSN]
- Alex Ovechkin didn’t score last night, but he’s coming around the turn in chasing down Wayne Gretzky’s 894. [NHL]
- The Capitals didn’t seem fazed by it in that win over the Rangers, but they placed John Carlson on IR, and coach Peter Laviolette dubbed it longer term. [NHL]
- In World Juniors news, the Czechs stunned Canada on day 1. [ESPN]