The New York Islanders finish up their first extended trip of 2024 tonight in Las Vegas, a visit to the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights are in the middle of a skid and just claimed off waivers a young defense prospect their division rival tried to sneak down to the AHL.
The Islanders would be far better off if they could snag at least one point tonight—and two would be even better.
Earn a win for Alex Romanov’s birthday—and Noah Dobson’s; I still can’t get over the fact that the Isles’ top defense pair both turn just 24 years old this weekend, and how wild is it that they were born a day apart on opposite sides of the world?
- A preview of tonight’s game.
- Lane Lambert updated Adam Pelech to day-to-day, and both he and Sam Bolduc stayed on for extra work, indicating it could be either one of them who goes in tonight. Bolduc still makes some glaring errors, but his game has improved significantly with all the extra playing time. [Newsday] Morning skate is at 2:00 p.m. ET, so we’ll find out more then.
- UPDATE: No, Pelech won’t be in tonight, but Lambert says he’s close.
- We still don’t know Semyon Varlamov’s timeline. But if Ilya Sorokin has to play many games in a row, we know he can do it because he’s done it before. [NY Post]
- Since Mike Reilly joined the Islanders, they have scored nearly a goal-and-a-quarter more than they had been. Mathew Barzal loves him, as does Lambert. It doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere if/when everyone’s healthy if there was any doubt at this point. [THN]
- Barzal’s teammates have watched him grow into a star and appreciate his talent as he heads to his third All-Star Game. [Islanders]
- The Islanders—and most teams around the league—always eat pizza at the end of a road game. It’s quick and they’re hungry! [NY Post]
- Islanders draft picks and Team USA linemates Quinn Finley and Danny Nelson are gold medalists: The Americans beat the host Swedes in the final yesterday. [Islanders | THN]
- AJ DeVito, of the Skates at the Stakes podcast, was the guest for episode 40(!) of Weird Islanders: The Podcast, discussing Tom Kuhnhackl, who scored the most momentous called-back goal of this generation of Islanders fans. [LHH]
- Can’t decide which of Bo Horvat and Noah Dobson you should try to send to the All-Star Game? How about both?
Only a few NHL games last night, but two with relevance to the playoff race. The Devils erased two one-goal deficits to beat the Blackhawks, and the Hurricanes scored six unanswered to top the Capitals, who led 2-0. At least that one ended in regulation. Washington has dropped six of their last seven (1-4-2).
- Connor Bedard left the game in the first period after a big hit from Brendan Smith and did not return, as did Nick Foligno after his fight with Smith. The Blackhawks announced today that both Bedard (fractured jaw, oof) and Foligno (broken finger) are on IR. [NHL]
- The Flyers, who like the Caps have struggled and dropped six of seven (1-3-3), healthy scratched Cam Atkinson Thursday night, but he’ll be back today. [NHL]
- No. 1 Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. [NHL]
- Sean McIndoe identifies five teams who don’t know yet if they should buy or sell at the trade deadline. [The Athletic]
- Craig Berube may be gunning for Sheldon Keefe’s job...? But it wouldn’t be shocking if he landed with the Ottawa Senators. [Sportsnet]