Here we are, folks. Happy Easter.
On Easter Sunday, the last weekend of the regular season, the New York Islanders sit in a playoff spot when they wake up this morning, having been temporarily dislodged from it by the NHL schedule-makers.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their game in regulation in the afternoon, and the Florida Panthers won their game in regulation at night (on the softest goal you’ve ever seen, giveaway and horrendous goal against courtesy of Charlie Lindgren), meaning the day ended with the Islanders and Panthers tied yet again, now at 91 points, and the Pens one point behind them. All three teams have two games remaining. Florida holds the tiebreaker over the Islanders, and both teams have clinched the tiebreaker over the Penguins.
I’m sorry I basically repeat myself every day with these updates, but it is like all I can think about in my free time. The tension only ramps up each day as all the teams left in the chase keep winning.
About last night:
- Ilya Sorokin earned his league-high sixth shutout while Bo Horvat, Simon Holmstrom, and Noah Dobson each recorded two assists in the 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, keeping pace in the wild card race. [LHH]
- Horvat had an excellent night in both ends of the rink [3 Takeaways]
- Being named a star of the game meant that he got to speak with Shannon Hogan from the benches, and she asked how this playoff chase and the Isles’ fans’ support ranked in his career. Well, the Vancouver Canucks were the picture of dysfunction for basically his entire time there, so... [Newsday | NY Post]
- Needless to say, the replies and quote tweets show that some of the folks of Vancouver are none too pleased with their former captain. Oh well! I love this guy.
- Sorokin was sharp while the Islanders started sluggishly, stopping shots until the Islanders scored. [Newsday]
- They took care of business. [THN]
- Stan Fischler speaks about the game in his inimitable style. [THN]
- The wild card race remains airtight, so this was a big regulation win. [NY Post]
- Given that everybody in the race won yesterday, the Isles’ win dropped their magic number only two points, down to 3. But if they win tomorrow night in Washington, it drops to 1, and they could clinch Tuesday night while idle if the Penguins lose in any fashion; if they win, they could clinch by earning at least a point in their final game on Wednesday night. [NYI Skinny]
- Their final three games are against teams no longer in the playoff chase, but the Islanders know they can’t take those teams lightly. They’re playing carefree and/or to earn a spot on next year’s squad. There are no gimmes in this league. [Newsday]
- It helps that the defense corps have been contributing at both ends of the ice. [The Athletic]
- This (Yester)Day in Isles History: The Dubie poke check (2007).
Yesterday, all 32 NHL teams played. The Penguins beat the Red Wings 5-1, and the Panthers beat the Capitals 4-2. Also, the Devils lost to the Bruins (who got their 62nd win) and the Hurricanes lost to the Sabres.
- Their 62nd win tied the record for most in the regular season. The Bruins have three more tries to break the record, starting tonight in Philadelphia. [ESPN]
- In Pittsburgh’s win, Sidney Crosby had three points, becoming only the 15th player all-time to hit 1,500 points. [ESPN]
- The Calgary Flames lost to the Canucks in a shootout. Meanwhile, the Jets beat the Predators, so Calgary’s playoff hopes look bleak. [Sportsnet]
- Quinnipiac entered the third period trailing 2-0 to Minnesota in the Frozen Four final. They took over, scoring once earlier in the third and then tying it with the extra attacker in the final three minutes. They won it ten seconds into OT, their first national championship. [AP]