We are living in hell.
The Rangers, inexperienced though they may be, have a 2-0 series lead on the Lightning, scoring wins over Tampa Bay in consecutive playoff games for the first time in Tampa’s last eighteen tries, including five times over two series against the Islanders.
It is far from over, but the Rangers look poised to beat the team we couldn’t—albeit a critically different iteration of the team we couldn’t beat because this team misses Goodrow-Gourde-Coleman AND is and likely will be without Brayden Point for the duration of the series, but here I go again, trying to minimize it—to play in the Stanley Cup Final.
I am going to be sick.
- Carey Price, who had to step away arguably at the peak of his team’s success to address his addiction but still returned by the end of the season, won the Masterton Trophy. The Isles’ Zdeno Chara finished third in the voting, behind Price and the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes, who played this season while recovering from his brother’s death from an overdose. [Newsday]
- Last week, we linked to a piece in which Michael Russo basically said it’s “when not if” the Wild will trade Kevin Fiala and mentioned the Islanders as a potential fit. Russo threw out Oliver Wahlstrom and the 13th. Kevin Kurz likes the fit and examines the potential deal, which a pro scout says is a little much. [The Athletic]
- Stan Fischler tells us about the time that Bryan Trottier invited him and his son to skate on his new ice-substitute rink in Port Washington. He says Trots was a sweetheart and a great host, especially to Stan’s son, to whom Trots was a hero. [Maven’s Memories]
- Kirill Kabanov(!) needed help getting his family out of Ukraine. His team’s owner got behind the wheel himself. [THN]
- The Rangers fell behind early but jumped in front of the Lightning before the first period ended, and Igor Shesterkin continues to hold the Rangers’ leads once they get them. [NHL]
- The Lightning had been 17-0 following a loss throughout their two Cup runs and these playoffs. Now, they’re on the ropes. [NHL]
- Just rub more salt in the wound, Elliotte: Friedman, in 32 Thoughts, wonders if we’re watching the best playoffs ever. He also has some interesting tidbits about guys who might not receive qualifying offers.
- I have my doubts as to whether this is a real quote. But on the off chance that it is real, it is spectacular.
- A double dose of Stan today! Fischler, citing copies of articles from that time, recounts when he was an 18-year-old student trying to get into the 1951 Board of Governors meetings that reinstated overtime. [THN: From the Archives]
- Price is preparing as though he will be Montreal Canadien next season. [NHL]
- I asked Mike and Dan, on the mailbag episode of Islanders Anxiety, whether the Isles make the playoffs next season and, if so, which current East team do they replace? They responded with the Capitals, which makes a lot of sense to me and probably would’ve been my pick—they have declined. But the Bruins will be without both Brad Marchand and now Charlie McAvoy until December and Matt Grzelyck until November. That, along with the potential retirement of Patrice Bergeron, might make Boston ripe for the picking.