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Islanders Matinee Gameday News: Stop giving points away

The Islanders are in Montreal for a mid-day start.

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Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Is aware of the need for improvement.
Photo by Josh Lobel/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Islanders have enjoyed a little Bo Horvat trade boost, and there is already evident potential for years of chemistry between the new guy and Mat Barzal. But Thursday’s sloppy loss to the Vancouver Canucks is the kind of slip-up they simply can no longer afford.

True, those times will happen in a long season, as Lane Lambert alluded to yesterday. The problem is the Islanders have already burned through a lot of mulligans this season. They are playing from behind in the wild card race, so nights like that hurt.

Thursday’s loss is also the kind of night that has plagued the team most of the season, even back when they were fully healthy and on the upswing in the first third of the season. So while they are likely to give us an entertaining push to the end of the season, it’s quite possible they remain a frustrating, inconsistent, goalie-dependent squad, unless the former Canucks captain can provide a steadying influence.

In the Barry Trotz playoff years, their internal predictability was one of their strengths. They’ve yet to find that under Lambert — though they didn’t have it last year under Trotz, in the COVID/October road/injury-ravaged season, either — so it’s not conclusive who’s the, um, er, who’s the chicken and who’s the egg here. Or something.

Anyway, today (12:30 EST start!) is another opportunity to either bank two points or make us feel like they’ve tossed more away against a weakened opponent. The Canadiens (20-27-4) are at the bottom of the Atlantic, the worst in the East outside of Columbus. They have enough injuries to tank hono(u)rably. But they’re also coming back from their 10-day bye/All-Star break, so they should have some energy at home.

First Islanders Goal picks for tonight go here. Our man Steve is on the scene in Montreal today, so while he won’t be doing the recap, hopefully he’ll have a story or two to share once he returns and recovers.

NOTE: I may be on a photo shoot this morning, so if a game thread doesn’t appear, here’s your place for in-game chatter.

Islanders News

  • Previewing today’s game: After calling Thursday “unacceptable,” on Friday Lane Lambert was ready to turn the page: “In the course of a long season you’ll have a handful of games like that. The key is to refocus.” [Isles]
  • Alex Romanov makes his return to Montreal. He’s not had a great year, and he’s really not had a good last few games. He knows it. [Newsday]
  • In what should be an instant classic episode of Weird Islanders, Dan and Mike discuss Micheal “[sic]” Haley with Travis Reilly. A lot of guys have done way less who were with the Isles for way more than Haley’s 43 games. [LHH]
  • Q&Isles: I have hopes for him as a hockey player, but Samuel Bolduc clearly does not understand the purpose of pizza. Meanwhile, Sebastian Aho is refined. [Isles]
  • Rather than launch sometime this season as some expected, MSG+ will not launch until the 2023-24 season, it seems. [Awful Announcing]


Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins destroying the hapless Ducks, and the Rangers being the latest to un-release the Kraken.

  • With the Islanders and Rangers making big moves, pressure is growing on the Penguins to do the same, maybe. [PensBurgh]
  • Kieffer Bellows, who has one goal in 15 games with the Flyers and has been getting unders six minutes lately, is on waivers. [TSN]
  • Hate to say it, but the Boston Bruins rule right now and everyone is impressed. [ESPN+]
  • The Kings are building a statue of Dustin Brown, who I honestly didn’t realize had retired. [TSN]
  • Patrick Kane admits seeing Vladimir Tarasenko (who scored last night) going to the Rangers kind of disappointed him, presumably because he would like to hear Sam Rosen butcher-shout his name. “It is what it is.” [TSN | NHL]
  • David Pastrnak could become the NHL’s highest-paid player, according to writers who are super-focused on how much top players should make if their contributions matched their proportion of each team’s cap hit. [Athletic]
  • When informed of where he fell on the Athletic’s blah blah ranking of the top 100 players ever, Chris Pronger guessed the defensemen ranked ahead of him and discussed their strengths. I still don’t understand how Paul Coffey ranked higher than a bunch of Hall of Fame actual defensemen, but whatever. [Athletic]