After a gutsy Game 5 road win in Raleigh, the New York Islanders earned the right to host Game 6 against the Carolina Hurricanes with a chance to force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday night back in Carolina.
Last Friday night, UBS Arena hosted Game 3—the building’s first playoff action—and the building was raucous to start and particularly after the third Islanders goal. Game 4 on Sunday saw a more subdued atmosphere as the Islanders lost big and early; we walked out unsure of whether we’d have the chance to see a third playoff game this season in the new barn.
Well, the Islanders got the job done in Game 5, and now we can shake the foundation again in another Friday night playoff game. We need to be loud tonight, early and often. It would help if the Islanders scored in the same fashion, but we’ll take the win no matter how. One more win, and then anything can happen in Game 7.
- A preview of tonight’s game. It’s win-or-go-(stay)-home for the Islanders. [Islanders] Reminder that it’s a 7:00 p.m. start. [Islanders]
- In any do-or-die game, the desperation level reaches its peak. The Islanders have spent most of the season desperate, and they treat every shift like it could be their last. [amNY]
- The key for tonight’s game for the Islanders: belief in themselves. It has gotten them pretty far this season, all things considered. [Newsday]
- Stan Fischler believes the Islanders hold the edge now in a few key areas. [THN]
- The Islanders made good use of the extra day off between Games 5 and 6, resting their weary bones and healing the ol’ bumps and bruises. [Islanders]
- Alex Romanov especially has been fighting through the pain in this series to make an impact. [Islanders]
- Ryan Pulock has really raised his game in this series. He has been the Isles’ best player thus far in the playoffs. [Islanders]
- Conversely, Noah Dobson needs to be “more of an impact guy.” He has really not performed well this series and for much of this season; his second gaffe leading to a goal in Game 5 led to his benching for the final half of the third period. [The Athletic]
- Bo Horvat can feel good talking about his game after Game 5, and he seems optimistic about how he’ll do in Game 6. If he’s heating up, that’s good news. [NY Post]
- However, while he and the Islanders’ top line has struggled, the second line of Pierre Engvall, Kyle Palmieri, and especially Brock Nelson has risen to the occasion. [NY Post]
- Zach Parise has cherished and is cherishing his Islanders playoff experience at age 38. [THN]
- Dan and Mike take us through the emotional roller coaster that was Game 5 and look ahead to the emotional roller coaster that will be Game 6. [LHH]
Last night’s playoff games:
- The Toronto Maple Leafs entered Game 5 up 3-1 and could have closed out the Tampa Bay Lightning on home ice, but they failed yet again in a closeout game (11 straight going back to 2013), losing 4-2. Game 6 is in Tampa on Saturday. [NHL]
- The New Jersey Devils became the first team to win a home game in their series with the New York Rangers. They dominated Game 5 from the jump, and Akira Schmid pitched a shutout as the Devils won 4-0 to take a 3-2 series lead. They contained the Rangers completely, especially in the third period. Game 6 is Saturday night at the World’s Most Overrated Arena. [NHL]
- And in the late game, we finally got some curtains and handshakes. The Vegas Golden Knights also dominated the first 40 minutes of Game 5, closing out the Winnipeg Jets’ season with a 4-1 win. The Knights will host whoever wins between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings. [NHL]
Forward and backward:
- Here are the start times for all the games tonight. After a few days with only two or three games, we have four Game 6s on tap. [NHL]
- Joe Pavelski is a game-time decision for the Dallas Stars as they try to close out the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 on the road. [NHL]
- Greg Wyshynski has some ideas on how to improve playoff officiating. [ESPN]
- Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark echoed Ted Lasso, I believe, saying he needs to have the “mind of a goldfish” regarding his OT blunder in Game 5. [TSN]