It seems like neither the Islanders nor the Penguins want that final wild-card spot.
If the team found ways to win at the peak of Barry Trotz’s Islanders tenure, right now they are finding ways to lose. They have lost five of six, and in four out of five of those losses, they held the lead at some point during the game. In the month of January, they have two wins in ten games, earning eight of the possible 20 points.
Fortunately, the Penguins find themselves in a similar rut, which has allowed the Islanders to hang around. But they have three extra games to play—with the potential to earn six more points—and they have the ability to rattle off something like a 13-2-1 stretch; do we really think the Islanders can take a run that far?
It feels like the Islanders could really use the upcoming All-Star break. But they still have five games to play (over eight days) until they get there, so strap in.
About last night:
- Yet another frustrating loss that just might push us over the edge into seller territory, or at least out of buyer territory. Spiraling! [LHH]
- Some good ol’ fashioned coachspeak, but exasperated:
Full Lane Lambert quote on handling frustration:— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 20, 2023
"Frustration is a wasted emotion. We are all grown men. We're professionals and we have to move on and we're in the business of being ready for the next game. I thought our guys did a great job of that tonight."#Isles
- Ho hum, another loss in Ilya Sorokin’s column despite making 42 saves. Starting to feel like Cory Schneider’s peak years in New Jersey—hey, who was running the Devils at that time again? [Islanders]
- When you consider that the Sabres are also trying to chase down the Islanders, it makes last night’s loss feel even worse! [NY Post]
- The Sabres raised Ryan Miller’s banner to the rafters before the game, and Dominik Hasek helped. [Sportsnet]
- The NHL announced the “results” of its “fan voting,” and Sorokin will be headed to All-Star weekend after all. After what happened to DiPietro, bubble-wrap him, please. [Islanders]
- Goodbye, Bill; we hardly knew ya. William Dufour was returned to Bridgeport after his first NHL game. [Isles DTD]
- Once all the construction around UBS Arena is finished, look for the Islanders to host league events like the draft or the All-Star game. [NY Post]
- Just how close is Rick Tocchet to becoming the coach of the Canucks? Rumor has it that he’s actually standing behind Bruce Boudreau right now like a puppeteer. [TSN]
- Paul Maurice got slapped with a $25,000 fine for his comments on the officials. [NHL] His goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, left the game in the first period last night with a lower-body injury. [Sportsnet]
- Steven Stamkos is finally at 500 goals, and his color commentator, Phil Esposito, encouraged him along the way. [NHL]
- Rankings... of... power. Power rankings. Ranked by power, etc. [Sportsnet]
- Realistic trade packages for Jonathan Toews from Boston, Carolina, Colorado, and Winnipeg. [Sportsnet]
- Darryl Sutter’s Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche in a battle for the final wild card, and coach Sutter didn’t mince words about it. [Sportsnet]
- Eric Francis visited the St. Louis home where the Tkachuk brothers grew up. [Sportsnet]
- More great, riveting content that comes with my The Athletic paid subscription: a week in the life of the Maple Leafs. They are really running out of ideas at this point.