We have a rivalry night! The Buffalo Sabres are right behind the Islanders (and with plenty of games in hand) in the wild card race, so tonight’s meeting between the forever up-and-comers (like Captain Okposo and Son of Thompson) from Buffalo has some serious stakes.
The Islanders enter the night still in the first wild card position, with the Sabres four points behind but holding three games in hand. The Sabres played last night at home, kindly losing in regulation to the Connor McOilers.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.
- Previewing tonight: “We have more teams that are chasing us that are coming up here, so it’s big to keep that momentum going,” Hudson Fasching says. [Isles]
- Yes! J-G Pageau finally returned to practice. He “looked pretty good,” but did not take any faceoffs, so the team will “have to evaluate” and see where he’s at. His return would be a big deal — not quite a Pelech big deal, but pretty big for their playoff push. [Isles | Newsday]
- Andrew Gross’ latest Island Ice podcast covers their recent winning ways, Adam Pelech’s road back from concussion, and Kyle Palmieri on the team’s shootout woes. [Newsday]
- Speaking of which, Pelech’s return to from took longer than he was expecting. [Athletic]
- The Isles are happy they made additions and confident for the stretch run. Matt Martin: “As an athlete you’ll always take the GM that adds over the one that subtracts.” [Isles]
CreatureProspect Report, CreatureProspect Report! Tristan Lennox followed up his NHL ELC with that 59-save shutout, and overager Matt Mattio was named OHL Player of the Month. [Isles]
Last night’s NHL scores include the previously mentioned Sabres loss. Also helpful, the Senators were badly beaten in Chicago and shut out by Alex Stalock, who is still alive.
- The Senators may have been thrown by a late scratch and injury to goalie Cam Talbot. [TSN]
- The Leafs’ bad-luck news is confirmed: Ryan O’Reilly goes on LTIR with a broken finger, though they expect him back for the playoffs. [NHL]
- Oh, we’re in that time of year now, are we? Bowling Green’s NCAA free-agent D-man Anton Malmstrom has signed a two-year ELC with the Blues. [TSN]