Ah, well. At least they made the playoffs and didn’t get swept nor gentlemen’s swept, I guess.
Alright, it’s not over yet, I guess. I mean, sure, the New York Islanders have to win all three games against the Carolina Hurricanes, who might as well be the Carolina Boogeymen for the Islanders. And sure, two of them will be in Raleigh, where the Islanders only know how to win in October. But hey, there’s always a chance, right? I guess there is.
Given the circumstances, what the Islanders displayed yesterday in Game 4 was pretty gross. They started off well: They limited Carolina almost entirely at five-on-five in the first. The officiating, again, was dreadful, but at some point, they have to adapt to it and overcome it. They haven’t. After Ryan Pulock’s major-downgraded-to-minor, the Islanders got away from their game and stopped hitting, except when Matt Martin crushed Mackenzie MacEachern for no reason at the end of the first, setting up the power play that basically sealed it early in the second. Making matters worse, some of their most important players have been somewhere between mediocre and dreadful, too.
Frankly, I could write all day about the various players who got us here and who have barely been seen this postseason. Pulock and Kyle Palmieri might be the only ones who I can say definitively showed up, and neither of them was very good yesterday. At the end of the day, they’re getting outplayed by a severely shorthanded Canes squad and their inferior goaltender, and nothing they do has been able to change that.
Sports, folks. We do this to ourselves, and this is how it ends basically every year. It ends similarly for fans of 31 teams. But I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. We have a whole offseason for parsing the roster and the future of this team. Who knows? Right now, we’ve got Game 5 on Tuesday in Raleigh. Win that and come back to UBS Arena for Game 6, and we’ll go from there.
And, uh, Islanders in 7, I guess.
- In the playoffs, it often comes down to special teams, and the Islanders are getting destroyed in that department. [LHH]
Listen. I'm not saying #Canes HC Rod Brind'Amour told his team to take penalties to get #Isles away from their five-on-five game as much as possible.— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) April 23, 2023
But I'd think the message to his players is if you have to take a penalty, do it without hesitation.
NYI PP is 1-for-12 this…
- It was a bit of an embarrassing showing at home considering the circumstances: win Game 4 and it’s a best-of-three, lose Game 4 and we’re where we are now, on the brink and needing to win Games 5, 6, and 7. [NY Post | Newsday]
- They have to turn the page if they want a chance at that happening, but the Islanders all-time are 2-13 when down 3-1 in a series, last making the comeback in 1987, the Easter Epic series; the Canes are 4-0 when up 3-1. [3 Takeaways]
- Lane Lambert normally keeps his mouth shut, but even he had to vocalize that he was struggling to understand both Zach Parise’s goalie interference penalty despite Jalen Chatfield shoving him into Antti Raanta and Mathew Barzal’s embellishment penalty despite Brent Burns cross-checking him in the back. [NY Post]
- Needless to say, the penalties were deflating, as they took the buzz out of the crowd, and so was their inability to kill them off, which ensured the buzz didn’t return. [ESPN | THN]
- The Hurricanes jumped on the scoresheet early courtesy of the five-on-three created by Parise and Pulock’s penalties and never looked back. The crowd, which was ready to explode in hopes of a 2-2 tie and a guaranteed return on Friday night, never really got a chance. [THN]
- Bo Horvat has not been good. In fact, he’s been hardly noticeable. He knows it, and G.I. Joe says knowing is half the battle, but the battle’s almost over now. Of course, there are many reasons the Islanders are on the brink. And hey, three crazy games here that somehow clinch the Isles the series and all is forgotten. Your move, Bowie. [The Athletic | Newsday | NY Post]
- There’s a line between physical and foolish. In Game 3, the Islanders straddled it perfectly. In Game 4, not so much. [The Athletic]
- The Hurricanes had lost eight straight road playoff games dating back to 2021, and hadn’t won on the road in regulation since 2019, against... the Islanders. The Carolina Boogeymen. [NHL]
- For Carolina, MacEachern drew into the lineup and had to move up to the top line early after Pulock’s hit knocked Jack Drury from the game. He responded with a goal and assist. [NHL]
- Andrew Gross has the instant analysis. [Island Ice Ep. 163]
- Jon Ledecky seems like a pretty cool guy. He and Sparky visited five children who were battling cancer this past Saturday. [THN]
- He also gifted playoff tickets to families who have fallen on hard times. [Islanders]
- A couple, who are season-ticket holders, got married on Friday and, since they couldn’t be at the game, had TVs all around. You’re season-ticket holders and you schedule your wedding for April?! [Islanders]
Yesterday’s other Games 4 include:
- The Bruins pushed the Panthers to the brink in their series, which is now 3-1 heading back to Boston. Also, Linus Ullmark challenged Matthew Tkachuk to a fight. [NHL]
- The Stars hung on to even their series with the Wild at 2-2. [NHL]
- And the Oilers and Kings went back and forth until the Oilers won in overtime to tie their series at 2-2, as well. [NHL]
- More officiating drama: Marcus Foligno was penalized twice in Minnesota’s loss, with both power plays resulting in goals. He called the penalties “bullshit,” and they kinda were! [Sportsnet]
- Meanwhile, Jon Cooper responded to Sheldon Keefe’s “manipulating officials” dig. [Sportsnet]