Isn’t that so annoying? The New York Islanders played one of their best games of the season and walked away with no points. They didn’t sleepwalk, and they didn’t start slowly. If the Islanders had managed to come back last night, it would have felt more like justice than robbery. But the Nashville Predators—who I officially hate, by the way—gave the Isles a taste of their own medicine: Despite getting badly outplayed, their goalie stole two points.
Kevin Lankinen is Juuse Saros’ backup, but it was only a couple of seasons ago that he was a Calder finalist, and he entered play last night with a .922. He was flopping all over the place thinking he was prime Dominik Hasek, and I don’t know how sustainable it is for anyone besides the Dominator to play like that (because Lankinen was pretty bad last year). Still, it got Nashville a regulation win last night.
No matter. As they say, that’s hockey. The Islanders still wake up this morning in a divisional—not wild card—playoff spot, both by points and points percentage. They’re in third, and the Carolina Hurricanes are only one point ahead of them. The Pittsburgh Penguins are two points behind the Isles, but even if they win tonight, the Islanders hold the tiebreaker. And though they took away a standings point, the Rangers snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory last night.
C’mon, Team USA.
#Isles practice at 1215.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 3, 2022
So everybody can quickly transition from watching U.S. in World Cup to scanning Twitter for any updates.
About last night:
- As Jenny says, it was the inverse of, and perhaps hockey karma for, the win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thanksgiving Eve. [LHH]
- Special teams were the difference: The Preds scored twice on the power play, but the Islanders scored only once. The once-vaunted penalty kill has been faltering. [3 Takeaways]
- But it was their season-high for shots on goal with 49. And Mathew Barzal was a cheat code. [Rapid Recap]
- I think the Predators just will always beat the Islanders. That’s nine straight matchups against them without a win. Not since Doug Weight was in charge have the Islanders beaten Nashville. [Newsday]
- Lane Lambert is right: 8/10 times, the Islanders probably win that game. It’s just that those other two times are against Nashville. [NY Post]
- Here’s a stat pull: Ilya Sorokin is only 5-4-0 at home this season, despite a .951(!!!!!) save percentage there. Over nine home games, he has allowed only 14 goals, but he has won only five of them. Need moar golz. [NYI Skinny]
- Bumping from yesterday, but this might be the golden era of NYC-area hockey. Or perhaps Greg Wyshynski cursed the Islanders again as he did last season when he preseason predicted they’d win the Cup. [E$PN+]
- Kevin Kurz asks the question: Is it time to be concerned about the Islanders’ frankly bad underlying numbers? They are conceding way too many high-danger chances, which is evident even from the eye test. [The Athletic]
- He has been here for a little while now, so Simon Holmstrom gets the Islanders 7 Facts treatment.
- Cole Bardreau and Hudson Fasching know the drill as AHL lifers and occasional NHL callups: simple games. [Newsday]
- Bardreau, who drew in last night, is just trying to stay in the moment. But he knew that the penalty he took was not staying in the moment well enough. [Newsday]
- Play Clark Gillies Trivia! And you might win a Clark Gillies bobblehead if you’re the first one to get them all right. [Islanders]
Last night’s NHL scores: As mentioned above, the Rangers lost in overtime to the Ottawa Senators after leading in the final minute of regulation, and Patrik Laine scored twice to lead Columbus to a win in his return to Winnipeg. The Rangers don’t look great, but Ottawa definitely is not. The Blue Jackets aren’t very good, but the Jets are. That’s hockey, folks.
- Steven Stamkos has hit 1,000 points for his career, and his goal/assist split is remarkably, uh, split. [NHL]
- Erik Karlsson is fully healthy for the first time in a long time and looks like his old productive self. [NHL]
- Sounds like Thatcher Demko will miss only six weeks. The Vancouver Canucks feared it was much worse. [Sportsnet]
- The Blackhawks are in New York—they play the Rangers tonight before the Isles tomorrow night—so naturally, blah blah Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin blah blah blah. [The Athletic]
- Kirill Kaprizov’s family and girlfriend are able to watch him play in the U.S. for the first time, and they’re also providing some home cooking that is keeping him full. The traditional food might be fueling his hot streak, too. [The Athletic]
- Whether the Philadelphia Flyers want to admit it, they’re in a rebuild. [The Athletic]
- Jakub Voracek can return to the ice from a concussion, but both Zach Werenski and Jake Bean underwent surgery and are probably done for the year. [Blue Jackets]
- Tyler Bertuzzi also underwent surgery, but he’ll only be out for six weeks. [NHL]
- New York Jets backup/starting(?) quarterback Mike White is also a Florida Panthers fan and fantasy hockey player. He joined the NHL Fantasy on Ice Podcast for an episode. [NHL]