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Top Shelf – Daily News And Notes: 4/19/13

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Apr. 6, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) waits for the face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

ASTORIA, NY — If you’re reading this with your morning coffee, make sure you finish your sip or step away from your phone or computer before you get to the next section. (The EOI staff can’t be held responsible for the damage to your device that might result from the ensuing spit-take.)

Ready? Here goes…

The New York Islanders gave up two goals in the first 6:41 of last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on the road, against a playoff team, in front of a raucous, hostile crowd, and ENDED UP WINNING THE GAME.

I know, right? I was surprised too.

And judging by the initial reaction on Twitter after Cody Franson’s goal put the Leafs up 2-0, you weren’t the only Isles fan to despair and subsequently find out that these Islanders are the type of team that can grind out tough wins when a playoff berth is on the line.

(Is this recent run of good form due to the good karma brought on by Jiggs McDonald being in the booth next to Butch Goring? No one can say for sure, but let’s not mess anything up. Keep up the good work Jiggs!)

The Isles ended up scoring five unanswered goals after giving up the first two and coasted to a 5-3 win at Air Canada Centre.

John Tavares – potentially gaining late Hart Trophy consideration – recorded two goals and one assist, playing half an hour away from his home town. Seems like he’s going to be fine, even if he hadn’t tallied a single point in the three preceding games.

The superstar center willed his team to victory last night, a sight to which Isles fans are quickly becoming accustomed.

Prepare yourself, Isles Nation. The road to the Stanley Cup begins in four games.

 

Sitting On The Bridge

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (31-30-7-5, 74 points) are on the road in Maine today, taking on the Portland Pirates (39-29-3-2, 83 points). They’ll wrap up the regular season at home against the Providence Bruins (Saturday) and the Pirates (Sunday). The postseason looks unlikely for the Sound Tigers, since they currently trail the eighth-place Connecticut Whale by five points with three games to go. It doesn’t help Bridgeport’s cause that none of its last few games are against a team it can catch in the standings.

Yesterday’s major news regarding the Isles farm system was that the big club recalled forward David Ullstrom, who was currently on loan to the Sound Tigers. The Islanders fourth-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft was likely added to the NHL roster as insurance for Josh Bailey and/or Casey Cizikas; both players suffered injuries during Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, but were both in the lineup last night against the Leafs. The feeling here at EOI is that the fans shouldn’t read too much into the move. GM Garth Snow is only protecting against a worst-case scenario (e.g. Bailey or Cizikas re-aggravating their respective injuries).

 

Links

Derek Stykalo with a great piece on the Isles here where he solicited the input from the eyesonisles editorial staff.

Will the Isles change their color scheme for the move to Brooklyn? (via Yahoo.com)

NHL power rankings (via LighthouseHockey.com, as of 4/17)

“The Skinny” on the current playoff picture (via Islanders statistician, Eric Hornick)

Last night’s game recap (via EOI)

 

Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere

Be sure to use the #Isles hashtag in your tweets for a chance to be featured here! Last night’s game had the requisite happy Islanders tweets, including (but not limited to)…

Predictions about John Tavares’s BIG night in Toronto:

 

 

 

How it feels to watch the Islanders at this point in the season:

 

 

The best picture of Johnny-On-The-Spot you’ll see from last night’s game:

 

 

And, of course, what Ralph Macchio thinks:

 

 

Last Night In The NHL

  • The New York Rangers beat the lowly Florida Panthers 6-1 at Madison Square Garden last night, keeping their playoff hopes alive. The Rangers are now 22-17-4 (48 points) and remain three points behind the Isles for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Shirts again coasted to victory on the strength of their goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner recorded 34 saves in the win.
  • Kyle Turris notched two goals in the Ottawa Senators’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place yesterday, which prevented the Islanders from gaining ground on the sixth-place Sens. Ottawa continues to hold the edge in points (53 to the Isles 51) and they hold a game in-hand. The Senators still have a tough road ahead: games against the Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals and the Boston Bruins all loom large.
  • The Winnipeg Jets made things a little closer than they probably should have been against the Carolina Hurricanes at home last night. The Jets blew two separate two-goal leads in the game, but got an overtime winner from Dustin  Byfuglien to beat the Canes 4-3. Winnipeg is hovering above .500 at 23-19-2 (48 points), just outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture; they trail the Rangers on tiebreakers, as the Rangers hold a game in-hand.
  • And because EOI is an equal-opportunity hockey news outlet, we’ll also note (briefly) that the Devils are no longer the owners of a 10-game winless streak, as they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. Nothing lasts forever, it would seem.

 

Eastern Conference
EASTERN GP W L OTL PTS ROW SOW SOL HOME ROAD GF GA DIFF L10 STRK
1 y – Pittsburgh 43 33 10 0 66 30 3 0 17-5-0 16-5-0 147 106 +41 8-2-0 Won 5
2 x – Montreal 44 27 12 5 59 24 3 2 14-6-3 13-6-2 138 115 +23 5-5-0 Won 1
3 Washington 44 24 18 2 50 21 3 0 13-8-0 11-10-2 135 122 +13 8-1-1 Lost 1
4 x – Boston 42 26 11 5 57 22 4 3 14-3-3 12-8-2 118 94 +24 5-4-1 Lost 3
5 Toronto 44 24 15 5 53 24 0 5 13-8-2 11-7-3 134 123 +11 6-3-1 Lost 2
6 Ottawa 43 23 14 6 52 19 4 4 15-3-3 8-11-3 107 92 +15 5-5-0 Won 4
7 NY Islanders 44 23 16 5 51 20 3 1 10-11-3 13-5-2 129 127 +2 7-1-2 Won 2
8 NY Rangers 43 22 17 4 48 18 4 4 14-6-2 8-11-2 108 101 +7 6-3-1 Won 1
Winnipeg 44 23 19 2 48 21 2 2 13-9-0 10-10-2 117 129 -12 5-5-0 Won 5
Buffalo 44 19 19 6 44 13 6 4 10-8-3 9-11-3 114 130 -16 6-3-1 Won 3
New Jersey 43 16 17 10 42 14 2 7 10-9-2 6-8-8 99 115 -16 1-6-3 Won 1
Philadelphia 44 19 22 3 41 18 1 2 13-7-2 6-15-1 119 134 -15 5-5-0 Lost 1
Tampa Bay 44 17 23 4 38 16 1 3 11-8-2 6-15-2 138 138 0 2-5-3 Lost 5
Carolina 43 17 23 3 37 17 0 1 8-13-0 9-10-3 112 138 -26 1-8-1 Lost 2
e – Florida 43 13 24 6 32 10 3 1 7-10-5 6-14-1 102 153 -51 4-6-0 Lost 4

As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it here for all things Islanders as the team makes its push for the playoffs. The “Drive For Five” starts the week after next.

 

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Tags: New York Islanders NHL NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Push

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