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Islanders Gameday News: Back in action, injuries healing, Roy takes aim

Also: Patrick Roy has time for Oliver Wahlstrom.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
When PATRICK ROY says he’d like to give you a chance, you better take it.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders are back from their All-Star Break (which wasn’t a break for Mat Barzal, but he seemed to have lots of fun and never minds that), and they’re just one of four teams to get right back into action tonight, facing the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

They were able to get in a good practice yesterday with Patrick Roy, who still has that new coach fresh scent, and Lou Lamoriello even descended from the mountaintop to give injury updates.

Of critical importance, of course, is their objective to make the playoffs and the ground they have to make up to do so. Though performances showed good signs during the first four games under Roy, by results they did not quite get the “new coach bounce” you might’ve expected: one win, two regulation losses, one OT loss. Yes, three of those games were against Cup finalists or favorites, but of course one of the regulation losses was in Montreal. Against the Canadiens.

Anyway, Adam Pelech — who took a blow to the head that earned Brendan Gallagher a five-game suspension — was back, as was Ryan Pulock, who’s been out since Dec. 7. The status for both is a gameday decision, but it’s a good sign. Meanwhile, Casey Cizikas skated but is still on IR for now.

The Isles (52 points) begin today fourth in the Metro but six points back of the wild card spots, of which the Maple Leafs (58 points) currently hold one.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.

Islanders News

  • Those injuries and other updates from Roy (post-practice) and Lamoriello (pre-practice). Lamoriello also explained that Julien Gauthier was sent to Bridgeport for cap reasons and because they are “going to give Oliver Wahlstrom a good look.” Under his new coach, this is Ollie’s last, best chance to make a good impression. [Isles]
  • Roy discussed Wahlstrom a little more, how he heard he was good before the injury, and he wants to see some more in certain areas. [AM NY]
  • Really hilarious Weird Islanders episode with legendary Brian Compton discussing Michael Dal Colle. [LHH]
  • Mat Barzal feels he’s playing the best of his career, and he’s ready to run through a wall for Roy. [THN]
  • Bill Torrey’s son, Rich, is working on a HUGE portrait of Denis Potvin. [Isles]
  • Zach Parise really thought he was done. But Colorado was going to give him a chance with a contender, and his wife pushed him to take the chance. (Will ESPN and the league make an entire postseason only about him, or do they just do that for Ray Bourque?) [Post]

In case you missed it, the Isles have a new assistant coach — he’s the coach that was reportedly hired, but before Lou was ready to say so, so they issued a rare statement to say that wasn’t the case.

Elsewhere

I confess I give fewer than zero shits about the All-Star Game and all of the things around it, but...NHL.com has lots of coverage!

  • Anyway, the trades that happened during the break! Sean Monahan hopes to help the Jets at the faceoff dot, among other areas. [Sportsnet]
  • Jets coach Rick Bowness is thrilled by that trade, of course. [Sportsnet]
  • Oh, and Elias Lindholm is now a Canuck and apparently he’ll be valued for similar reasons. [Canucks Army]
  • The Sabres have some injuries. Mattias Samuelsson is out for the rest of the season, and Jack Quinn is out 6-8 weeks after surgery. [NHL]
  • After a PTO in the AHL, Jesse Puljujarvi has signed a cheap two-year NHL deal with the Penguins. [TSN]