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Islanders Gameday News: B’s in for a big test

It’s exam season in colleges and universities, and the Islanders have one, too.

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Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Parise won’t be in tonight, but might he be soon?
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This one’s going to be a big test. The New York Islanders welcome the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins to Elmont to close out this season-long homestand.

Inarguably, the six-game home streak has already been a smashing success despite there being a blown win to one of the worst teams in the league. They’ve gone 4-0-1 so far, collecting nine of ten possible points. But a strong showing against the Bruins would be huge both in the standings and in perception, especially because the Islanders do not usually come out on top when they play the Bruins, 2021 Second Round aside.

However, they will have to do it significantly shorthanded, as they’ll likely roll with the same lineup as Wednesday night. Boston seems to be pretty banged up too, though, with Charlie McAvoy out.

FIGs go here.

Islanders News

  • A preview of tonight’s contest.
  • In his latest written 32 Thoughts, Thought No. 8 is Elliotte Friedman reporting that Zach Parise has really ramped up his training to get ready to join an NHL team, and he notes that Parise said previously that it was “Islanders or nowhere.” [Written 32 Thoughts] On the podcast that came out this morning, he reaffirmed that “people believe if he’s gonna play this year, it’s gonna be for the suddenly surging Islanders.” [32 Thoughts Podcast: Parise bit at 37:45 mark]
  • However, Chris Johnston says that Parise has drawn interest from several contending teams, though he notes that Parise ramping up his training has coincided with the Islanders’ heater. [The Athletic]
  • It is worth asking: Is Parise a need? The forward group is clicking right now. [THN] But what I will say is that he probably wouldn’t be ready right away, so we can see how the group looks by the time he’s ready to play. My guess is he rotates with Julien Gauthier if he does join the Isles.
  • Mathew Barzal has been much better in his own zone these days. He blocked a big shot on Wednesday, and his expected goals against are down. [Newsday]
  • Some news and notes, including the Islanders’ defense casualties. [Newsday]
  • Watch these guys try to pronounce Long Island town names. [Islanders]
  • After the latest win, the league and media are starting to take notice of how hot the Islanders are and especially how good Noah Dobson has been. He’s officially getting Norris Trophy buzz—everyone acknowledges he won’t beat Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes, but someone’s gotta be the third finalist, and he’s as good a candidate as anyone else right now. [amNY]
  • His new partner, Alex Romanov, has improved significantly over the second half of the Isles’ season thus far. This whole thread is really illuminating.

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Flyers tying it late and beating the Capitals in the shootout (three-point game because of course) and the Blue Jackets blowing a 5-0 third period lead to the Maple Leafs before salvaging an OT win. Also, the Hurricanes defeated the Red Wings in regulation.

  • Roberto Luongo entered the Vancouver Canucks Ring of Honor but did not have his number retired for some reason. But it was a big celebration of the goalie. [NHL]
  • It came before a game against the Florida Panthers, the other major team in Luongo’s career. And Thatcher Demko honored Luongo by pitching a shutout. [Sportsnet]
  • Minnesota Wild AGM Chris O’Hearn mysteriously “parted ways” with the organization, and it later came out that both he and GM Bill Guerin were investigated for verbal abuse. [The Athletic] UPDATE: The news that O’Hearn was investigated came from Friedman in the 32 Thoughts Podcast linked above.
  • Analyzing whether the New York Rangers are really good or just doing what they always do. [ESPN]