Granted there are more important things about tonight, but could there be a more coveted bobblehead than Butch Goring and his classic bucket?
I’m no bobblehead collector, but I imagine it doesn’t get any better than that absolute beauty. Goring, a Conn Smythe winner and full dynasty member whose #91 hangs from the rafters, is the latest legend honored as part of the Islanders’ 50th anniversary season.
ESPN+ / Hulu has the exclusive U.S. broadcast for tonight’s game, so the beloved “Butchie” can enjoy the festivities without also having to do his regular gig as Islanders TV color commentator.
Tonight’s opponent is the Toronto Maple Leafs (42-18-9), who are locked into another first round meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning. They look a bit different since last time they visited — though key addition Ryan O’Reilly remains out with a broken finger — and now of course Pierre Engvall has added orange to his blue.
Matt Murray is back, and still giving up a lot of goals, but — well, for example last game, he gave up four but made 48 saves in a lengthy shootout win in Ottawa. New dad Ilya Samsonov was expected to start.
For the Isles, it’s the same drill as the past two months: Every point matters. They enter the night in the first wild card spot, but Florida — also in action tonight — is one point behind.
Samuel Bolduc has been recalled from Bridgeport in place of the injured Sebastian Aho, and team MVP Ilya Sorokin surely starts yet again in net.