Middletown, N. J. – The craziness that is the Eastern Conference playoff picture did not get sorted out last night as the battle for the last four spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs tightened up.
The good news for the New York Islanders is that entering tonight’s match in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes, their destiny continues right on their own sticks. The magic number remains at three but could easily be zero at the end of play this evening. With Winnipeg traveling to Washington for the back-end of a double in a game of enormous size, the Isles look to slow the Canes and move that much closer to getting an official invite.
More in the pregame later this afternoon, but if the Islanders muster two points tonight and the Jets lose in Washington in regulation or a shootout, they will clinch a playoff spot with two games to spare.
Down At The Bridge
Today is the last day of the down at the bridge feature with the Sound Tigers season coming to an end on Sunday afternoon. The readers voice was heard in our inaugural poll here at eyesonisles, on who you would like to see get a callup to the big club for the stretch run.
With 91 votes being cast, Ryan Strome garners 41% of the final tally, with Nino Niederreiter coming in second at 26%. Brock Nelson placed third at 21% and many of you think that Matt Donovan would be best served waiting until training camp to make an impact at 12%.
From The Twitter-sphere
— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) April 23, 2013
- Hornick with the skinny on all statistical facts regarding the Islanders. I have been beating this drum for a while but if you are an Isles fan, he is a must follow.
Love the praise the #isles are getting on NHL tonight right now
— James Nichols (@jaynichols11) April 23, 2013
- Agreed James, a return to relevance is so refreshing for a club that has been in the proverbial dog house for 20 years. The analysts, save Keith Jones, have hopped on board and it’s starting to feel like this team has an opportunity to do some serious damage in the playoffs this year. Remember, who would have ever thought we would see the Kings and Devils in the finals in 2012. Get in and the door is open for all sixteen teams.
— Denis Gorman (@DenisGorman) April 23, 2013
- With so many New York sports teams saturating the area, hockey is front and center as it should. The Islanders and Rangers can both clinch playoff berths this evening.
Around The NHL
- Those pesky Jets went in for maintenance two weeks ago and have not stopped flying since. Save the hiccup Saturday against the Isles, an impressive 5-0-1 on their home stand to remain in the chase. Tonight they travel to Washington,whom they are 1-3 against this season in a monumental game for not only themselves but the two New York hockey clubs. Antti Miettinen scored the winner with 8 left in the 3rd.
- Pittsburgh continued its torrid run of play, knocking off the Sens 3-1 in Ottawa. The Pens continue to roll without Sydney Crosby, James Neal and Evgeni Malkin as well as missing Marc-Andre Fleury last night, as his wife gave birth to their child. I believe the Matt Cooke play where he injured Erik Karlsson was intentional, but Chris Neil continued to show the league how much of a mockery he really is by skating around all night looking for someone to injure.
- Detroit kept their playoff hopes alive by closing down the Coyotes 4-0. Johan Franzen tallied twice for the Wings. Detroit has qualified for the playoffs 21 years in a row and moved to within a point of the Blue Jackets with a game in hand.
- Vancouver clinched the Northwest division crown with an impressive 3-1 win over the league leading Blackhawks. The Canucks built a 3-0 lead after two and cruised from there behind Corey Schneider.
- Anaheim clinched the Pacific division crown by blanking the Oilers 3-0. It was announced yesterday that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be shut down for six months to repair shoulder damage.
Here is the aforementioned Neal playing the fool and leveling Simon Despres with a high hit….
Current Eastern Conference Standings