The NHL is starting to figure it out. Today, and for each of the last few Saturdays, there has been hockey on all day. That’s how you own a day. It’s tough to compete with March Madness, and I could see why they don’t do this during college football season. But hockey games throughout the day, from 1:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., is how you make someone’s Saturday when the weather is crappy. Of course, it is a beautiful day here in New York, but that’s the way it goes.
Now if they could just figure out staggered start times—the only games that start at the bottom of the hour are the really late ones, and when games all start at the top of the hour, they’re all at intermission at the same time.
Anyway, the New York Islanders play in one of those 10:30 p.m. games tonight against the San Jose Sharks. I went over this yesterday, but they are bad and already officially eliminated from the playoff race. This simply has to be two points, no two ways about it. But, dare I say, I got a good feeling about it.
- A preview of tonight’s late-nighter.
- Casey Cizikas and Josh Bailey both missed practice yesterday with a non-COVID illness, but Lane Lambert expects both to be available tonight. [Isles DTD]
- Ilya Sorokin played both halves of the back-to-back this week, and you can expect Lambert to ride him down the stretch. [Newsday]
- The Isles’ playoff chances have continued to improve, but they’re still up in the air. Head-to-head games with the Capitals and Sabres could knock them into the basement, but the Panthers appear to be their biggest threat at the moment. Also, don’t pencil in the Penguins just yet; it could be the Isles and Cats left standing, too. [The Athletic]
- This week’s Maven’s Memories features Trent Hunter, the powerful power forward and Calder Trophy finalist. [Islanders]
- The B-Isles beat the Syracuse Crunch on the road last night, courtesy of Andy Andreoff’s second hat trick of the season. [B-Isles] They face their arch-rivals, the Hartford Wolfpack, tonight in Bridgeport.
- In the scoreboard-watching department, we will keep our eyes on our local rivals: The Rangers host the Penguins (for the second game in a row, and the third time they’ll play each other this week) while the Devils visit the Panthers.
#Isles play #SJSharks tonight at 10:30 PM ET.— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) March 18, 2023
Games to watch:
PIT vs. NYR @ 8 PM
NJD vs. FLA @ 6 PM
Only a handful of games in the NHL last night, but both the Sabres (to the Flyers) and the Capitals (at home to the Blues) lost in regulation, which is huge for the Islanders.
- The best way to create offense in the playoffs is to get to the inside, those high-danger areas. Playing on the perimeter doesn’t work. Just ask the Leafs! [Sportsnet]
- Devon Levi, one of the best college goalies of all time and projected to be the next goaltending star in the NHL, has signed his entry-level deal with the Sabres, leaving Northeastern. [NHL]
- Jonathan Drouin missed a meeting this week, so coach Martin St. Louis didn’t allow him to practice yesterday and won’t allow him to play tonight when the Habs face off against his old team, the Lightning. [TSN]