As the New York Islanders continue a surprisingly decent run despite injuries and dropping very winnable games, some of their wild card competitors continue to falter.
Tonight at home, they host another team near the top of the Lesser Conference. The Los Angeles Kings enter the night just one point off the Pacific Division and Western Conference lead, after earning a regulation point last night in Newark but losing the bonus point in 3-on-3 overtime. So yes, the opponent is “tired” in a back-to-back, but that’s been the recipe for an Isles letdown lately.
Meanwhile, the Penguins were torched at home by the Oilers, and the Capitals were not only humbled by the Ducks, they made a trade to signal they’re waving the white flag. More on those later...
First Islanders Goal picks for tonight go here.
- Previewing tonight: “Pheonix Copley stopped 28-of-32 shots on Thursday night. Jonathan Quick is expected to start in net against the Islanders.” [Isles]
- Do the Islanders have organizational depth? It’s something they’re not known for, but during the current injury wave they are getting contributions from guys who started the season in Bridgeport. [Newsday]
- Did we not share this yet? Freddy Meyer IV, who spent time with Rick DiPietro, Dennis Seidenberg and Miro Satan, among others. [Isles - Talkin’ Isles]
- Get to know the fifth-graders who designed the Islanders Black History Month patches. [Isles]
- Some execs and players vote on the top 10 centers in the NHL. #1 is unanimous, of course. “New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, who finished 10th in the 2021 ranking, received only one 10th-place vote. Bo Horvat received one eighth-place vote.” [ESPN]
As mentioned at the top, last night’s NHL scores included humbling losses for the Penguins and Capitals. Longer wild card shots the Red Wings and Sabres pulled off wins though. Also, Aatu Raty made his Canucks debut, but he logged just 7:37.
- “We have a trade to announce...” The Capitals do a Blues and trade two of their main trade chips in the same deal: Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Bruins for a first, second and a fifth. The Wild also step in again to launder some of the money. The Capitals also took back Craig Smith, who Boston was trying to dump. [NHL]
- Why the Bruins, who are already at the top of the league, did it. [Sportsnet]
- Even if the Penguins continue to fall, Jeff Petry is “not going anywhere” — though one would assume it’s not because they value him, but because he’s signed for an absurd $6.25 AAV. [TSN]
- What is Timo Meier worth, and what should teams expect? “Meier isn’t a player coaches want on the ice to protect leads or defend consistently. ... [but] his offense wins out.” [Sportsnet]
- The news for Ryan Johansen after a scary skate cut to the leg: 12 weeks to recover after surgery. Ouch. [NHL]
- The Leafs are already excited about Noel Acciari, who they tried to add in the summer but could not meet his modest asking price. [Sportsnet]
- They’re also already enjoying Ryan O’Reilly, who had a hat trick at center as he pushed the Kid Who Didn’t Win the Calder to his wing. [NHL]
- “Roster management reasons” is the new “lower body.” Trendy. It’s why the Rangers are sitting Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn. [TSN] Evidently, that’s in part because they think they still have a shot at Patrick Kane. [Post]
- John Tortorella took flak for banning iPads on the bench, but Martin St. Louis quietly did the same (except for TV timeouts) and Bruce Cassidy is considering it too. #screentime There are some interesting insights here from St. Louis about his time playing under Tortorella, too. [Sportsnet]