Man, remember that second week of the 2022-23 season, when the Islanders lost to a Devils team that struggled out of the gate, and it felt like an insult?
Yeah, things have changed since then.
The Devils took off on a season-long quest for a possible division title, while the Islanders ebbed and flowed, listed and righted, taking us through a playoff bubble journey that mixed confidence-boosting wins with deflating losses like this past weekend.
Tonight the Devils are back, having just clinched a playoff spot with nine games to go (for them; eight games remain for the Isles). And the Islanders suddenly really need points over the next 10 days from teams like the Devils, Hurricanes and Lightning (twice), to say nothing of Wednesday’s visit to still-relevant D.C.
First Islanders Goal picks for tonight go here.
- Previewing tonight: The Devils are filled with all kinds of attractive stats. [Isles]
- So the Isles blew two very winnable games over the weekend, now they have to prove themselves anew this week as the schedule toughens. [Newsday]
- It’s a crucial stretch for the Islanders, and it doesn’t appear Mathew Barzal is swooping into save them anytime soon. [AM NY]
- To discuss that and other burning topics, Hockey Night in New York talks to Chris King. [YouTube]
- Saturday night’s turnovers and ice time reduction were a learning experience for Samuel Bolduc. [Post]
- Seth Helgeson isn’t the only milestone maker in Bridgeport: Andy Andreoff is riding 30 goals to a career year. [Isles]
Last night’s NHL scores didn’t really matter to the Isles. The Bruins won again, the Avalanche beat the Coyotes (but in a shootout) again, etc.
The Sharks have signed Harvard’s Henry Thrun, whose rights they acquired from Anaheim last month. [TSN]
Some guy named Blake Lizotte who plays for the Kings got a one-game suspension for a match penalty crosscheck. [NHL]