Four out of six points was what the New York Islanders needed entering this trip, and last night’s visit to the Los Angeles Kings was always going to be the toughest of the three and the most likely loss. But man, that was frustrating to watch. I think I hate LA.
It unfolded similarly to the last game against the Kings at UBS Arena a few weeks ago: a brief meltdown in the second period, allowing them to take a comfortable lead and let their structure do the rest. A familiar formula—one the Isles do so well when they’re on but often cannot solve when they run into another team that does it. And last night, that formula equaled zero points for the Islanders.
Not earning any points just makes the next two contests that much more important. If they don’t win both, they’re probably in trouble.
As it is, they have given back their advantage in possible points: Both the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres can once again jump the Islanders if they manage to win all their games in hand. A win tonight against the intentionally bad Anaheim Ducks wouldn’t give the Islanders back their cushion, but it would require the other teams to actually win all their games in hand.
At least that’s how things stand here on the Ides of March. Things are, as we know, ever-changing.
FIGs go here. Try to stay awake today—we’ve got a long night ahead of us.
About last night:
- Starting the trip off with a whimper. [LHH]
- Matt Martin hit a milestone, playing in his 753rd game as an Islander, passing Mike Bossy for seventh all-time. [NYI Skinny]
- But unfortunately, it was Martin’s unnecessary unsportsmanlike penalty, for tossing Rasmus Kupari’s helmet across the ice after yanking Kupari away from cross-checking Alex Romanov’s face shield, that did them in. [The Athletic]
- JG Pageau returned, though. [3 Takeaways] And he scored a goal, a pretty tip of a Sebastian Aho slap pass. [Newsday] He hadn’t played since February 11. [Isles DTD]
- But it was a ten-minute, second-period blitz that again did in the Islanders against the Kings. [Newsday]
Onward and hopefully upward:
- Looking ahead to tonight’s game against the Ducks, against whom the Islanders got their first win of this season. [Islanders]
- An underrated advantage of playing for the Islanders, as opposed to teams out west, is the much lighter travel schedule. Bo Horvat and Zach Parise can attest. [Islanders]
- Noah Dobson grew up watching Drew Doughty win a Norris Trophy and two Stanley Cups and has tried to emulate his game. [Newsday]
- Lane Lambert was not at his happiest.
Lambert Postgame Availability pic.twitter.com/2eCnN0NoNU— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 15, 2023
Fortunately, last night’s other results all went the Islanders’ way: The Capitals, Penguins, Red Wings, and Senators all lost in regulation (to, respectively, the Rangers, Canadiens, Predators, and Oilers). Or perhaps that makes last night’s regulation loss that much more annoying. This is one of those “write your own ending” stories.
- There was an animated broadcast Rangers-Capitals game with the setting and characters from Big City Greens, a Disney show. Go behind the scenes of how they made that happen. [NHL]
- Fight etiquette and player safety are among the hot topics at this year’s GM meetings. [NHL] But as always, the meetings are an excuse for them to go to Florida in March, as they have decided not to make any changes at this time, as far as video review goes. [NHL]
- We learned yesterday that Andrei Svechnikov’s knee injury was, indeed, his ACL, and he will miss the rest of the season and playoffs. [NHL]
- Artturi Lehkonen broke his finger in his return to Montreal and will miss four-to-six weeks. Another injury for the Avalanche. [NHL]
- But the Leafs should get Ryan O’Reilly back before the playoffs. [NHL]
- Jonathan Quick can’t be stopped! He and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Philadelphia Flyers. Not a great win, but it was his fourth in a row. [NHL]