That was a crushing loss. But to say it was undeserved would be incorrect: The Minnesota Wild took it to the New York Islanders basically all night, and the only goal the Islanders scored should almost never go in. Ilya Sorokin, clearly the team’s MVP night in and night out—and if they somehow do make the playoffs, he should get Hart votes—gave the Islanders a chance to win this game. That late in the game, they need to close it out. Period.
That they managed a big fat zero in standings points is pitiful, but maybe not as pitiful as their power play. Sure, they generated more chances tonight than their average power play, which isn’t saying much. But I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an Islanders squad that calls itself competitive with a power play that consistently, on a very regular basis, gives momentum to the team killing it off. It could almost become a strategy to beat the Islanders: take a penalty, because they’ll beat themselves, and we’ll get a boost out of it.
Speaking of strategies to beat the Islanders...
"They had shots from outside like they seem to do to every team"--#mnwild G Filip Gustavsson— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 13, 2023
Quote says a lot about how #Isles offense is viewed around #NHL. Not dangerous.
I’ve noticed that’s their play, too, as I’m sure many of you have. It’s not a winning strategy, and it’s easy for a lockdown team like the Wild to play our outside game. We should know: That’s basically Barry Trotz hockey, and we watched it for three years (weren’t so good at it last year). That statement says a lot more than I’m sure Filip Gustavsson intended it to.
Last night’s debacle:
- It’s a sin how many brilliant Sorokin performances they have wasted this season. [LHH] If he wasn’t an all-world goalie, the Islanders wouldn’t be sniffing the playoffs.
- The offense has utterly collapsed. [3 Takeaways]
- They have 12 goals in six games in 2023, and six of those goals came against an even bigger tire fire in Vancouver. And to make matters worse, they’ve just been sloppy. [The Athletic]
- How sloppy? As counted by the home scorers (so if anything the bias should favor the Isles), the Islanders had 23 compared to Minnesota’s five. That’s not managing the puck. [Newsday]
- Scott Mayfield had the Isles’ only goal. He also took two penalties: one literally right after his goal, and the other a delay of game call for pushing the net off the moorings. The Isles have a bone to pick about the second one, but it is a penalty. It’s just that it never gets called because they can usually make it look like an accident. [NY Post]
- The penalty kill has been the only positive (and I’m sure the goaltending helps that, too). It took just 93 seconds for the Wild to turn a deficit into a lead. Freddy Gaudreau scored shorthanded and then Sam Steel gave them the lead. [NYI Skinny]
- Adam Pelech has resumed skating with his teammates, which is a good sign. [Isles DTD] It likely means his concussion symptoms are staying away, even after he started exerting himself in skating on his own for a few days. [Newsday]
- Noah Dobson has been watching the game tape, and he says it has helped with his positioning. [NY Post]
- Last night was Sebastian Aho’s 100th game. It took a while to get there, but he did it, and all with the Islanders. [Newsday]
- Anders Lee is among roughly 25 athletes, including Joe Burrow and Blake Griffin, who are buying a massive farm in Iowa for $5 million. They plan to buy four more farms, too. Investing in the land. [Front Office Sports]
Last night’s NHL scores featured the Rangers tying the game 1-1 with 0:01 left in regulation and then beating the Stars in overtime, because of course.
- There’s a lot of pressure on the big star with an expiring contract on a bad team. Mats Sundin and Claude Giroux know what it’s like for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane right now. [The Athletic]
- Some bests and worsts from the first half of the season. [E$PN+]
- And some bold predictions for the rest of the season, like the Buffalo Sabres making the playoffs. Well, they were already quite a bit out and then dropped three straight at home in regulation this week, so that’s really bold. [E$PN+]
- The trade deadline gets closer and yet we have heard very little beyond what we all knew already. So here are ten dudes who, whether it’s the team or the player that wants them to go, should probably get moved (but also probably won’t be). [The Athletic]
- The NHLPA is being sued by a guy claiming they misused his confidential information to pursue their own claims. [TSN]