Astoria, NY – For the first time in the month of April, the New York Islanders lost a game in regulation. Small consolation for Isles fans, I know. But the bigger picture reveals that this team is still playoff-bound and the reality of their game against the Philadelphia Flyers is that every team is prone to a let down.
There’s no defense for a lack of motivation and it was clear from the opening faceoff that the Islanders didn’t have the same jump they’d shown in games from earlier this month.
Despite the loss, there were some positives to take from the game.
Kevin Poulin, playing in his first game since April 2, looked sharp throughout, stopping several second-chance opportunities against a Philadelphia team that spent the better part of the night buzzing around the Islanders goaltender.
It was too little, too late, but the 1:43 at the end of the third period showcased some quality grinding and cycling by the Isles below the Flyers goal line. If nothing else, there were glimpses of the gritty style of play that characterizes this Islanders team.
Unfortunately for the fans, it took and end-game situation like last night’s to bring it out.
It’s also important to note that it wasn’t the normal lineup for the Isles. In were Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner and Poulin; out were Jesse Joensuu, Thomas Hickey and Evgeni Nabokov. Perhaps head coach Jack Capuano was prepping for a physical game against the Flyers, but the changes didn’t do his team any favors.
No need to panic, Isles Nation; let’s all take a breath. We’re still headed to the playoffs and the Old Barn will certainly be rocking when the Islanders return home.
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
Because we ALL need a little reminder of what we’re chasing after last night’s result…
Because this is STILL true…
And because this team is still young…
Last Night In The NHL
- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson returned to the ice for his first NHL game action in two-and-a-half months – well ahead of schedule – after suffering a partially torn Achilles tendon in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Senators beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 and secured a playoff berth on the strength of Sergei Gonchar’s overtime game-winner; Karlsson recorded an assist on the play.
- The New York Rangers also clinched a playoff berth last night, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime; captain Ryan Callahan netted the game-winning goal at 2:55 of the extra period to give that “other team from New York” a guaranteed playoff spot with one game to play in the season. For Carolina, Staal brothers Eric, Jared and Jordan started the game on the same line.
- Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 increasing his odds of winning the Vezina Trophy this season. Bobrovsky has 20 wins, a 2.03 GAA and a .931 SV% on the year and continues to keep his team in the playoff hunt. Columbus is tied with the Minnesota Wild on points with 53, but Minnesota holds the 8th-seed based on the non-shootout wins tiebreaker.
- The St. Louis Blues continue to play solid hockey out west, beating the Calgary Flames 4-1 to move closer to securing the Western Conference’s 4th-seed and home ice in the opening round of the playoffs. The Blues have won five of their last six games, and can clinch the 4th-seed with a win at home over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your Isles and NHL playoff coverage. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff. One more thing: the Isles “Drive For Five” starts next week. Prepare yourselves accordingly.