The New York Islanders will probably be back on the ice today down in Tampa Bay since they were off yesterday. They have a tough road back-to-back this weekend against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night and the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday evening.
The good news is that this is the last back-to-back of the season for the Islanders. More good news is that they still have a three-point cushion over the Pittsburgh Penguins (one game in hand) and a four-point cushion over the Florida Panthers (even in games played), who both won in regulation last night.
If they can find a way to snag two points this weekend, they’ll be in decent shape for their final four games of the season. Three points would be even better, and four points amazing. The Pens also have a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, hosting the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers only play on Saturday this weekend, visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both wild-card chasers play on Tuesday night, while the Islanders won’t play again after Sunday night until Thursday, which will even things up in terms of games played.
After this weekend, the Islanders will have only one more road game: oddly, another trip to visit the Washington Capitals. They’ll host the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, and Montreal Canadiens to close the season. Here we go, baby.
- It was Ilya Sorokin Day around the assorted Islanders' media. First up: the mindset and talent. The man is locked in. [THN]
- Sorokin just has a singular focus on stopping pucks. It sounds obvious, but evidently, it’s incomparable. [Newsday]
- He has an uncanny ability to tune out everything else when he’s in net. [NY Post]
- Some news and notes: Brock Nelson will wear the shield for two weeks; Sebastian Aho didn’t travel to Washington; no update on Mathew Barzal; and Lane Lambert said it wasn’t a big deal returning to Washington for the first time as head coach. [Newsday]
- Pierre Engvall, with speed and reach, has added a new dimension to the Islanders’ attack. [amNY]
- The Isles are “galloping” to the finish line with the playoffs seemingly on the horizon. [THN]
- If the Islanders make the playoffs, there are four teams they could potentially play: the Bruins, Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and, most unlikely, the New York Rangers. Here, Ethan Sears breaks down each potential opponent. [NY Post]
- A new episode of Island Ice came out yesterday, in which Andrew Gross discussed the Isles playoff push, spoke with Darren Pang and Kyle Palmieri, and answered fan questions.
- Stan Fischler is 91 today; here, he reflects on his life and how hockey helped him get to this point. Happy birthday, Maven. [THN]
- I can’t believe Stan isn’t in the Hall of Fame. That’s a sin.
Note to @ThePHWA and #NHL Broadcasters Association - it is long overdue to honor Stan at the @HockeyHallFame !— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) March 31, 2023
Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins’ victory over the Predators and the Panthers’ win over the Canadiens. Also, the Red Wings broke a 2-2 tie with three seconds remaining in regulation to steal a point away from the Carolina Hurricanes, while the Devils hung on to beat the Rangers 2-1 in regulation.
- The Bruins beat the Blue Jackets in overtime, clinching the President’s Trophy in the process. Keep playing for the record, fellas. We need your help this weekend. [NHL]
- The Predators’ loss allowed the Vegas Golden Knights to become the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff berth. Then, they lost to the San Jose Sharks in OT. [NHL]
- Elliotte Friedman has 26 Thoughts to offer and much from the first media availability of new NHLPA Executive Director Mahty Walsh.