The New York Islanders begin their defining stretch of the 2013-14 season tonight as they close out a six game road trip in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
Over the course of the next three weeks leading into the Olympic break, we will know whether New York will be buyers or sellers come the March 5 trade deadline. Conference and more importantly, division games are heavy on the schedule, particularly in the next two weeks when the Islanders will face off with the Flyers twice and the Rangers three times. Currently they sit only seven points out of a playoff spot with the Washington Capitals loss last night.
Word is still absent on the status of top defenseman Travis Hamonic, who flew back to Long Island ahead of the team on Wednesday to be re-evaluated for a possible concussion. Maybe today we will learn something but with the way teams around the league are so secretive regarding injuries, I would not count on it. Lubomir Visnovsky news has been equally quiet, with the exception that he skated on his own last week.
With points so precious in the standings and Kevin Poulin playing so well, the expectation is that the Islanders rookie will be back between the pipes this evening, more than likely facing reclamation project Steve Mason. The Flyers have been playing exceptionally well under new head coach Craig Berube and own a pair of 5-2 victories over New York already this season.
It will certainly be interesting to see who Islanders head coach Jack Capuano decides to dress in tonight’s game. These types of physical matchups seem like a prime opportunity to get both Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton back in, probably at the expense of Radek Martinek and Peter Regin. All will be determined after this mornings skate and you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook to learn the news when it becomes available.
In Case You Missed It
- Come check out version one of the Deke Squad and cast your vote on the 3 hot button topics of the week (EOI)
- Has the project that is Kirill Kabanov come to an end? (EOI)
- Arthur Staple on the difficulty facing the Islanders schedule wise coming up (Newsday)
- John Tavares getting some press outside of the local market with his excitement for Sochii (Edmonton Sun)
- Dan Friedman gives his analysis of the improving Isles squad (WFAN)
Around The NHL
Very quiet night on the NHL schedule but an important result non-the-less for the Islanders.
- Columbus 5, Washington 1
- Chicago 4, Anaheim 2
WILD CARD STANDINGS
Across The Bridge
Anders Lee potted the 16th goal of his rookie campaign but even the return of Ryan Strome could not prevent Bridgeport from continuing to struggle mightily, as they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Senators on Friday night. The official game recap can be found right here.
The Sound Tigers travel to Hershey to face the Bears Saturday before returning home to host the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday at 3 p.m. (c/o Soundtigers.com)
With the loss, the baby Islanders remain in 4th place in their division with a record of 14-21-1, having scored 98 goals while allowing 132. They are 2-7-0-1 in their last 10 games.