Hey, maybe it did take playing a good team to get a strong effort and two points.
The New York Islanders put forth a mostly excellent effort against the New Jersey Devils and took two points and a regulation win, putting them—because the Florida Panthers lost again—six points clear of the playoff cut line. Kyle Palmieri had a monster game, and Bo Horvat scored an empty-net goal that hopefully will get him off the schneid. Ilya Sorokin was there to bail them out in the third period when the Devils made a big push.
Now, the Islanders head out on the road to visit first, on Wednesday, the Washington Capitals, whose playoff hopes are all but extinguished after Anthony Mantha blew their chance at one or two points on Saturday night. Then, they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes on a weekend back-to-back.
But first, a well-earned day off (although they’re probably traveling):
No practice for #Isles today as we all head to Washington for tomorrow night's game vs. Caps.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 28, 2023
About last night:
- Palmieri had two big goals and added an assist against his former team. And Parise scored against his old team, too. [LHH]
- Not only did he produce, but Palmieri also was just a bull all night long and paced the Islanders. [3 Takeaways]
- The win, in which Sorokin made 30 saves, 14 of them in the third period alone, made their record 15-5-4 since the two games just before the All-Star break. They are sitting pretty in the first wild card. [Newsday]
- The Islanders pulled away with three goals late in the third, two of them empty-netters. Although it was only an empty-netter, Horvat badly needed just to watch the puck go in the net, so good on Casey Cizikas for getting it to him. We’ll see if that opens the floodgates. [NHL Writeup | NHL Gamecenter]
- Horvat entered the game with new linemates: Hudson Fasching and Zach Parise. [Newsday]
- Adam Pelech impressed Lane Lambert, who thought it was one of the best games he’s seen him play. [Newsday]
- That kind of win helps in the standings, of course, but it also sends a signal that this team will be a tough out in the playoffs if they can get there. [NY Post]
- As Stan Fischler noted, they looked in the mirror and played their game, playoff hockey. [THN]
- And the four-point swing, between their win and the Panthers’ regulation loss, puts their magic number at 11. They’re close. [NYI Skinny]
- Thomas Hickey: good at broadcasting.
"Pretty good for a guy getting a lap dance, right?" pic.twitter.com/5nGDM4X6Ho— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) March 28, 2023
- Before the game, Horvat had been critical of his own play and said he needed to “start pulling [his] weight.” [amNY] I had been mildly critical after this weekend, where it looked like he couldn’t even get the little things right. But he was back to his meticulous game last night, winning big faceoffs and forcing turnovers, and it paid off.
- Sebastian Aho returned to the ice just over a week after suffering what looked to be a concussion, so that’s good news. He’ll probably be back in when he’s ready. [Isles DTD]
- Fasching discussed how he is inspired by his “severely handicapped” siblings and acknowledged how lucky he is to walk, let alone play in the NHL. [THN]
- Fasching has learned to prioritize his mental health in the process of his long journey to the NHL. [The Athletic]
- Andy Andreoff has had a career year in the AHL and has, at various times, led the league in goal-scoring; in fact, he does right now. And Bridgeport is thankful for his services as they push to make the playoffs. [Islanders]
- I often forget, but the Tkachuk brothers are now in the same division, and they faced off last night in a huge matchup won by Brady. Also, Commissioner Gary Bettman has been in town overseeing the impending sale of the Sens and spoke with the media. [Sportsnet]
- A couple of big-name NHL coaches are on expiring contracts. Pierre LeBrun tries to dive in. [The Athletic]
- The Nashville Predators unveiled a statue of long-time star goalie Pekka Rinne, who felt “humbled” by the gesture. [NHL]
- Another inside Athletic exclusive, this time about team-mandated fines and the odd ways they work. [The Athletic]
- Goalie goal! This time in the ECHL; some Edmonton Oilers prospect nailed it. [NHL]