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).
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:
— Mike Howlin (@fltrn77) April 18, 2013
Tonight is a Jonathon Tavares night. Can feel it. On road, in Toronto, playoff contender, Hart contender. And hes due. Mark it down.
— DGross (@dgr0ss) April 18, 2013
How it feels to watch the Islanders at this point in the season:
I hope this lasts a few more months but I’m not sure my heart can take it. #Isles
— Paul Agrait (@Agrait16) April 18, 2013
The best picture of Johnny-On-The-Spot you’ll see from last night’s game:
— Dave Abel (@DaveAbelphoto) April 19, 2013
And, of course, what Ralph Macchio thinks:
Another 2 pts! @nyislanders
— Ralph Macchio (@ralphmacchio) April 19, 2013
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|New Jersey||43||16||17||10||42||14||2||7||10-9-2||6-8-8||99||115||-16||1-6-3||Won 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|
|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.