The New York Islanders have another “really need these points” game Sunday afternoon as the Montreal Canadiens visit Elmont for a 2 p.m. EST start. They’re all like that right now, as the Isles again sit 18 points behind Boston heading into today’s action.
The Canadiens recently (and dramatically) snapped their 10-game winless streak but still have only single-digit wins on the season. They are in full tear-and-sell-and-rebuild mode, so every bit of progress is a bonus for them, like the Scott Gordon/early-Capuano era Isles.
To make things fun, recent goalie acquisition Andrew Hammond will make his 1st NHL start in 1425 days, in March of 2018 with the Avalanche. [Thus: Pencil in an Isles loss today.] Carey Price and Jake Allen each remain shelved — another reminder of the confluence of factors that put the Islanders franchise in position to draft first overall and let that pick wear #91 for a little while.
The Habs are now coached by interim Martin St. Louis, whom the new management loves so much, they hope he can figure out enough things on the fly to be the permanent solution. Certainly they can afford all kinds of losses in this season while he steadily retools their approach.
- Josh Bailey (day to day), who missed the win over the Bruins, skated yesterday, but Oliver Wahlstrom, who was hurt in that game, did not. [Isles]
- The Isles and Canadiens each went deep before falling to the Lightning in last summer’s playoffs, but this year...woof. [Newsday | Post]
- Preview/keys to the game: Winning would be nice. [Isles]
- Will Lou be a buyer or seller? [Newsday]
- 40 years later, looking back at the Islanders’ record-setting (pre-OT and shootout era) 15-game win streak. [Isles]
- Stan Fischler recalls the impact of Gord Lane. [Isles]
- This weekend the Nassau County Executive building has been lit in blue and orange as tribute to the late Clark Gillies. [Post | Isles]
Remembering long-time NHL team architect, coach and youth hockey advocate, Emile “The Cat” Francis. [NHL | Post] He had a storied career with multiple franchises. He also wasn’t beneath filming the occasional ad:
- The Leafs signed a bad UFA deal with Nick Ritchie, but now they’ve escaped it by shipping the former Bruin to the Coyotes. Turning a mistake into a win for Dubas? [Sportsnet]
- Jamie Benn was fined $5,000 for squirting water at an opponent. And physical injuries only cost $2,500? [TSN]
- Brooks shares puzzlement over the Hall of Fame campaign for Tuukka Rask, while a couple of better goalies whose teams never won a Cup are on the outside. [Post]