In the penultimate game of their season-long homestand, the New York Islanders host the struggling Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are 1-11-0 in their last 12, wiping away entirely the good feelings they had after their six-game win streak, as well as their outside playoff chances. Tonight is the first of a four-game road trip for Anaheim.
I remember Kevin Kurz once said, based on what he learned from the players while covering the west coast San Jose Sharks, that the first game after flying east is tough for a team coming from the Pacific time zone. Between that and Anaheim’s stumbles, the Islanders need to take care of business tonight. If they do that, they’ll be only four points back of the New York Rangers for first in the division. What a rollercoaster.
- A preview of tonight’s game.
- It’s the return of Ross Johnston, who was claimed off waivers by the Ducks just before the season started. GM Lou Lamoriello gave Johnston a heads-up a couple of days before the placement that he probably wouldn’t be with the big club to start the season, so he was prepared. But he never got a chance to say goodbye to his former teammates until now. [Newsday]
- Matt Martin was taken off IR on November 28, but he was returned to IR yesterday retroactive to December 2. The Isles currently have two open roster spots. [Newsday]
- Credit where it’s due: The Islanders’ top-six forward group has been playing great since Lane Lambert put a now-surging Anders Lee back on the top line next to Bo Horvat and Mat Barzal. [THN]
- Yesterday was the Islanders’ day to visit kids in the hospital for the holidays. Photos are in. [Islanders]
- Ruslan Iskhakov is gaining more confidence down in Bridgeport. I wonder if they’ll ever give him a chance with the big club. [Islanders]
- That’s good because otherwise, the B-Isles are bad. Very bad. [Bridgeport Report]
- A moment of appreciation for Noah Dobson. [Highlight Reel]
- Anthony Beauvillier will always be a real one. And yes, of course, he’s beloved on Long Island. He scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history.
I had to ask Anthony Beauvillier if he caught Islanders fans booing John Tavares even after he got his 1,000th point last night: "Just shows you how passionate they are. They remember everything. Whether it was 40 years ago, 10 years ago, or five. I thought it was pretty funny."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 13, 2023
Apparently, Anthony Beauvillier is sorta beloved on Long Island? At least, based on the responses to this. We'll see what kind of dent he can make in Chicago, this being the last year of his contract.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 13, 2023
Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins and Hurricanes snapping their losing streaks and the Flyers earning a point, while the Red Wings earned two. Also, the Rangers lost to the Leafs, and the Oilers got the better of the Blackhawks and won their eighth straight in the first Connor Bowl, but Connor Bedard opened the scoring with this beauty.
CONNOR IN EDMONTON pic.twitter.com/JSFgElwuOr— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 13, 2023
- After losing to Detroit, the St. Louis Blues fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Craig Berube. [NHL] But what if the problem wasn’t Berube and was instead the roster put together by GM Doug Armstrong? [The Athletic]
- The Vancouver Canucks reportedly have Andrei Kuzmenko on the block. Here’s what he can bring. [Sportsnet]
- It’s mid-December, meaning the Winter Classic is only a couple of weeks away. Road to the NHL Winter Classic is set to premiere on TNT and MAX, following around the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken. [NHL]
- They’re revamping the Skills Competition this year. There will be only eight events and 12 participants, and the winner gets $1 million. [NHL]
- On Connor Ingram’s rise to starting goalie for the Arizona Coyotes. [ESPN]
- Oh boy oh boy! The Jonas Brothers will be the headlining act for the Saturday night Metlife Stadium game between the Devils and Flyers. No word on the act for the Islanders-Rangers game the next afternoon. [NHL]
- Seems like the Washington Capitals (and Washington Wizards) might be moving out of DC and into northern Virginia.