The worn-down and searching-for-meaning 2021-22 New York Islanders will mercifully put this season to bed this week with three games in four nights to close the schedule.
It’s three more games (and 13 out of 16 this month) against playoff-bound competition, which has usually meant bad things for the Isles this season — and is decent shorthand for why they are on the outside of the playoff picture after long runs the past two seasons. Twelve of those 13 are teams that have passed 100 standings points.
Their opponents tonight and Thursday, the Washington Capitals, still have an outside shot at changing their seeding, though three points behind the Bruins with three games to go makes that a stretch. Tonight the Bruins are host to the Panthers, who just had their franchise-record win streak stopped by the double-defending champion Lightning.
Tonight the Isles are in Washington before back-to-back home games against the Capitals and Lightning Thursday and Friday. The Lightning can still theoretically be caught by the Bruins (who are three points behind), but that may be moot by Friday.
- Amid the loss to the Hurricanes, Barry Trotz had to reel in his players amid their evident frustration and going off the system script. [Newsday]
- Another view: Isles looked ready for the season to end. [Post]
- One bonus to the loss: “Isles no help to Rangers.” [Newsday]
- Anyway, whatever the case, the season is a loss and Matt Martin says the Isles “gotta wear that” and “get back” to doing all the things that previously made them successful. [Post]
- The Masterton nominations are out, and Zdeno Chara gets the nod for the Isles. Are these his final days in the NHL? [Newsday]
- Enjoy a wee highlight video from the Alumni Classic. Radek Martinek and Pierre Turgeon still seem in game shape. [Isles video]
- Other Masterton nominees with Isles connections: Andrew Ladd in Glendale and Kyle Okposo in Buffalo.
- Alex Ovechkin is a “day to day” question with an upper body issue. [NHL]
- It’s ultimately a good thing but not without some nostalgic regret: The quirks of the rink at the Coliseum did not come over to Elmont, where the rink is totally normal. [Post]
Liam McHugh, emboldened by TNT to drop bombs:
- There was confusion about this and Peter DeBoer sounded...tone deaf, perhaps, but Robin Lehner is being shut down to have shoulder surgery. [NHL] Their gut-punch loss was a “tough pill to swallow.” [TSN]
- The Darryl Sutter show is must-see TV: “It’s the perfect venue for the NHL’s most unique coach to send messages to players, management, media, the opposition and occasionally the medical staff, with a dry, told-you-so delivery that has everyone guessing.” [Sportsnet]
- The Lightning visited the White House, while training their eye on a threepeat. [NHL]
- Automatic suspension for Ryan Lomberg and fine for Panthers coach Andrew Brunette for Lomberg’s instigator with less than five minutes left in their loss to the Lightning. [TSN]
- The Maple Leafs have signed the suspended Hobey Baker Award winner because they’ll take any goalie with promise they can get. [NHL]
- Even if the Canucks won’t make it, Bruce Boudreau has helped reinstill belief in the team culture. [Sportsnet]
- A year after being part of the loss to the Isles, Jeremy Swayman is focused heading into the playoffs. [NHL]
- And what of the non-playoff teams? “Giving the Islanders a pass is certainly easier than letting the Jets and Knights off the hook.” [Sportsnet]