After sweeping their home-and-home set with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the New York Islanders head on the road for their third game in four nights—at least they won’t have to travel too far a distance.
That’s because they’re visiting their dreaded rivals, the New York Rangers, a team that I love to point out is propped up by all-world goaltending and an elite power play. But the fact is that the goalie and the power play are still part of the team. I don’t know that putting all your eggs in those two baskets will be the best strategy when the postseason rolls around, but they’ll be there and we won’t be, so it’s moot.
The worst part is that they’ll probably play the Pittsburgh Penguins, which means we’ll have to root for our old friend, the meteor.
First Islander Goal picks go here. My pick would be Brock Nelson, who [gasps] didn’t even score a goal last night!
About last night:
- Kyle Palmieri, gorgeously picking his corner, scored the game-winner early in the third period. [LHH]
- Gotta love sweeping the home-and-home with two regulation wins. [NHL]
- Mathew Barzal scored on a breakaway to earn his first goal in 16 games. [Rapid Recap]
- The victory moved them past Columbus into fifth place in the Metro Division, 15 points back of, and with two games in hand on, the Washington Capitals (who, by the way, have an extremely difficult schedule in April). [NY Post]
- But it’s about pride for them and building toward the ultimate goal of a Stanley Cup, and if they think this is helping them do that, I’m all for it. [Newsday]
- If that’s the goal, it has been encouraging to see their “no-quit” mentality, the one that helped them reach the heights that they have reached. [3 Takeaways]
- Weird quirk from last night: The Isles’ Sebastian Aho scored a goal, and forty-four seconds of real time later, in a separate game, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho scored a goal. Spooky.
7:14:40 pm ET Sebastian Aho scores for the Islanders— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 31, 2022
7:15:14 pm ET Sebastian Aho scores for the Hurricanes
Both Sebastian Ahos scored at the exact same time in different games pic.twitter.com/yXF5bhg24C— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 31, 2022
- Remember that game back in January 2019 when the Islanders visited the St. Louis Blues and fully demoralized them? I’m pretty sure that game is what put the Blues in their famous last-place standing—famous because of what happened next, of course. But anyway, last night, Aho and Oliver Wahlstrom scored 11 seconds apart, the first time that has happened for the Islanders since Jordan Eberle and Johnny Boychuk did it in that game in St. Louis. [NYI Skinny]
- Tonight’s game features a showdown of two of the league’s best forwards in Anders Lee and Chris Kreider, two big American dudes who came out of the NCAA. [NY Post]
- It will not, however, feature a rematch between Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin, as Barry Trotz stated that Sorokin will not be available tonight. So does Semyon Varlamov go back-to-back, or do we see Cory Schneider make his New York Islanders debut? [Newsday]
- The Islanders emergency recalled Robin Salo ahead of last night’s game, but he didn’t play. [Isles DTD]
- In this edition of 16 Stats, Dom L. at The Athletic showed some love for Sorokin and for Brock Nelson, who he controversially says may have jumped Mathew Barzal for the top center on the team.
- Though he didn’t record a point last night, Noah Dobson is two points away from 40 on the season. He would be just the sixth Islanders defenseman ever to do it, the first since Roman Hamrlik in 2000-01, and by far the youngest. That last part is most encouraging because it means he may still have a ceiling he hasn’t yet reached. [amNY]
- Four storylines to watch down the stretch include whether Sorokin could garner a Vézina nomination (no chance he wins; Shesterkin’s name is already carved into this year’s plaque) and whether Nelson will hit 40 goals. [The Athletic]
- Matt Martin has now played 801 NHL games, 669 in some variation of an Islanders uniform. And he loves being here—hell, his whole life is here now. When he retires, I can only assume there’s a position for him somewhere behind the scenes. Or perhaps he joins the broadcast! [Newsday]
- As we celebrated yesterday, Stan Fischler turned 90 yesterday. It’s his turn to celebrate, and he has nine memories to share. [Maven’s Memories]
- This week’s 32 Thoughts features some words about the passing of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and some thoughts about the GM meetings down in Florida, where, despite all the rhetoric about changes they want to make, will make no changes.
- The San Jose Sharks found a new escape while they were on the road: They have an escape room club, and they do a new one on most road trips. [The Athletic]
- Clayton Keller’s scary injury turned out to be a broken leg. He underwent successful surgery on it and expects to be ready for training camp next season. [NHL]
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi will miss the next few weeks after suffering an injury on a hit from Lars Eller. [NHL]
- Even more injury news: Petr Mrazek will miss the next six weeks with a groin injury. [NHL]