The inevitable became the present last night as the New York Islanders were officially eliminated from playoff contention with seven games left in this cursed season.
The team headed north of the border for a quick pair of games in the hockey centers of Montreal and Toronto, with results that reflected how this season has gone: A tight win (and Sorokin shutout) over the non-playoff Canadiens, then a too-little loss against the playoff-bound Leafs.
About last night:
- Last night’s game turned in the second, while the season leaves some promising notes and many questions. [LHH]
- Elimination now official. [Newsday]
- Three Takeaways: The Isles reflect on carrying on even with the postseason out of reach. [Isles]
- The Isles returned to Toronto for a full house, a sharp contrast to their 16 playoff games in the bubble a couple years ago. [Newsday]
- The Leafs can look at their gritty franchise record-setting win as a good test and proof that they’re a different team now. [Sportsnet]
- Brock Nelson entered with 34 goals and the role John Tavares once held. [Newsday]
- The Leafs kept Auston Matthews — who’s chasing 60 goals — out last night for a “minor” injury but said it was an “easy” decision with more important games coming soon. [TSN]
- You’ve probably read your share of Mike Bossy tributes over the last few days but you won’t want to miss this extra (with more obscure highlights) from Dan. [LHH]
- Longtime buddy and linemate Bryan Trottier was interviewed for Hockey Night in Canada, reflecting on visiting Bossy in his final week and sharing laughter and music: “I got to spend two more days with him, it was spectacular.” [Sportsnet]
- Larry Brooks recalls his relationship and conversations with Bossy over the years. [Post]
Yesterday’s other NHL scores include lots and lots of goals, with the Blues scoring seven in the second period for their ninth win in a row and the Panthers — the Isles’ next opponent — dropping six on the Wings for their 10th in a row.
- After a long-delayed Athletic investigative piece on Eugene Melnyk was published 17 days after his death, the Senators must turn the page for a new, “invigorating” chapter in team history. [Sportsnet]
- As the Jets face missing the postseason, they must rebuild their culture. [Sportsnet]
- The Flames GM says they will “move heaven and earth” to re-sign Johnny Gaudreau. [NHL]
- Kaapo Kaako left yesterday’s Rangers game with a new lower body injury. [TSN]
- Flyers goalie Bernie Parent recalls making 63 saves in a double-OT playoff win over the Blues in 1968. [NHL]