Tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET, the puck will drop on UBS Arena’s first playoff game when the New York Islanders host the Carolina Hurricanes for Game 3. Although it got a preview in the regular-season finale last Wednesday when the Islanders welcomed the Montreal Canadiens in search of a playoff berth, this is the real thing.
The Islanders would not be eliminated with a loss tonight, but it would be difficult to envision them winning four straight to come back from down 0-3 with that kind of pressure on them. They have yet to beat the Hurricanes in a playoff game, but the Canes could not win a playoff game on the road last season. Hopefully, that road loss trend continues tonight (and Sunday in Game 4) at UBS, where the Islanders have played exceedingly well, never mind the fact that Carolina won both their games there this season.
I have a good feeling about tonight. I think the Islanders are going to jump on Carolina. I mean, I hope so.
- A preview of tonight’s critical Game 3. [Islanders]
- More on tonight being UBS Arena’s first-ever playoff game. [Islanders | NY Post]
- It’s a big night at UBS Arena, and the Isles are excited about it. They expect it to be loud. We’ll do our best. [NHL | Newsday]
- Andrew Gross summed up Game 2 shortly after it ended. [Island Ice Ep. 162]
- The Islanders did not take the ice yesterday, so it’s unclear if Alex Romanov is ready. But Lane Lambert left the option open. Sam Bolduc has been benched in each of his last three games, so who else could play? Does Lambert trust Parker Wotherspoon, who hasn’t played in the NHL since January? [LHH | THN]
- On the other end of the ice, the Hurricanes are down another forward, as Teuvo Teravainen is done for the series with a broken hand. [NHL]
- As you might imagine, the Islanders were less than pleased with the officiating in Game 2, but so were the Hurricanes, somehow. [NY Post]
- The Islanders were also less than pleased with the fluke goals that they gave up; they turned out to be the difference. [NHL]
- Lambert was surprised at Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour’s comments after Game 2. It wasn’t quite the “tomahawk chop” Brind’Amour described that broke Teravainen’s hand. [amNY | Newsday]
- This is Lambert’s first playoff run as a head coach, and he has shown both character and consistency thus far. [NHL]
- Cal Clutterbuck, despite all his injuries, remains one of the last of a dying breed with his bruising style of play. [The Athletic]
- It’s playoff time, which means it’s time for Stan Fischler to talk about the origin of the playoff beard, the dynasty Islanders. [THN]
Last night’s Game 2 scores include all the home teams that lost on Tuesday night evening up their series—the Golden Knights and Avalanche doing so in dramatic comeback fashion—except the Devils, who got blown out 5-1, the same score as in Game 1, by the Rangers. Now the Devils have to go to the Garden down 0-2. But they were a good road team this year.
- Joe Pavelski, in concussion protocol, did not travel to Minnesota with his Dallas Stars teammates, meaning he’s out for Games 3 and 4. And that’s not very surprising, since he needs at least a week off. [TSN]
- On the other side of that series, the Minnesota Wild for some reason started Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2 instead of Filip Gustavsson, who was rock solid in Game 1. Fleury let up seven goals in the loss, and called his performance “embarrassing.” [TSN]
- The Los Angeles Kings have held the Edmonton Oilers’ potent offense somewhat in check through the first two games of the series. [Sportsnet]
- In non-playoff news, the Calgary Flames face a critical summer after going from division champs to missing the playoffs. [Sportsnet]
- Who are the biggest celebrity fans for each NHL playoff team? [ESPN]