An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Monday, April 29, 2013

KoC: 2013 Islanders Playoff Preview

"I'm not worried about things we have no control over. They play good hockey. We have to just go in & play our game." -Isles Matt Moulson


For the first time since '06, your New York Islanders have earned the right to compete for the NHL's Stanley Cup.  The Isles havent won a playoff round since they did it 20 years ago against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were poised to win a third consecutive cup.  It was an epic battle and a great come from behind victory for the Islanders.  Historically, the Isles have never lost a playoff series to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Each of the 3 series went to a game 7 and were decided by one goal.


This season, not many gave the Isles a chance to even make the playoffs.  Several media outlets gave them little more than a 14th or 15th place prediction for the Lock-out shortened season.  Garth Snow added some players from waivers to fill holes and kept everything else as designed.  I felt the results of the rebuild would come into play next season and I felt that the 2013-14 team would be a strong playoff contender. 

The 2013 season would start with promise, but show the signs of inconsistency and an inability to hold a lead, especially in the third period.  I was all over coach Capuano for his leadership and like many fans, frustrated beyond belief.  In February to March, things changed and the team seemed to mature as we watched them in each game.  So much so, that I may have guessed this year's team had a shot at 4th or 5th position after going 11-2-4.  That they did.


But despite the impressive streak, the Isles failed to deliver in their last 3 games and they started needing help from other teams instead of writing their own ticket.  As a result, the Islanders were placed 8th in the eastern conference.  This means they will face the 1st place Pittsburgh Penguins as follows:


G1 WEDS         5/1             7:30 pm

G2 FRI              5/3             7 pm

G3 SUN            5/5             Noon (Section 329 advantage)

G4 TUE            5/7             7 pm (Section 329 advantage)

G5 THU           5/9              7 pm

G6 SAT           5/11             TBD

G7 SUN          5/12             TBD.



8. Isles             24-17-7          54pts               1. Pittsburgh            36-12-0          72pts


PP                   11th                 19.9%                                                 2nd                  24.7%


PK                   21st                 80.3%                                                25th                 79.6%


John Tavares              3rd w/ 28 goals               Sidney Crosby                        4th w/ 56 pts


Evgeni Nabokov          tied 4th 23 Wins             Marc A. Fleury                    tied 4th 23 Wins


The Isles will have a tough test against Pittsburgh.  They have a high level of skill, depth and coaching.  They know what it takes to win in the playoffs with a cup win in 2008-09.  Sidney Crosby will most likely be cleared to play, and when he is listed among the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Jerome Igilna and Brendan Morrow, look out.  For all their offensive talents, Pittsburgh's defense and Goaltending has been suspect at times.  If the Isles can use their speed, check hard, cycle the puck and get all four of their lines going, it can be a long series for the penguins.


I think the Isles will shake off what they did wrong in the last 3 games, relish the roll of underdog and follow the leadership of John Tavares.  This is the kind of opportunity he has been waiting for his whole life.  Quietly, the Islanders are going to be tough to play and if they can dial into the game they brought for the second half of the season, winning a seven game series is possible.  That will require Evgeni Nabokov as a crucial piece of the Isles game and if he is playing well enough to just keep the Isles each game, the Isles will steal some games.


The Isles need to watch a lot of tape and dissect the weakness in Pittsburgh's game.  Tavares, Moulson and Boyes are a very good line to say the least, but they will be under siege in the series.  The Isles can use their speed, physical play, 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines to off set the Penguins game plan.  Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald will do what they do best while Nielsen, Bailey and Okposo continue to outwork their opposition and create chances.  And don't forget that Aucoin has been a thorn in Pittsburgh's side for his tenure with the Isles.

Defensively, the Isles have a huge assignment with the Pens in a 7 game series.  They need to have minimal mistakes and score off Pens turnovers & misplays.  Isles have to play a solid defensive game with the forwards and manage the neutral zone play.  The pairing of Lubomir Visnovsky & Thomas Hickey has really impressed me.  With Visnovsky's skill and the improving play of Hickey, they should be a major part of the Blue line in the next two seasons.  But with all due respect, I think Reasoner, Carkner and Boulton should be the first scratches by the coaching staff.

Anders Lee, David Ullstrom and the guys from Bridgeport are probably there for an insurance measure and to realize that Management has tapped them for what is expected from them next season.  These guys are the real deal for the Isles and will only improve the team competition level in training camp.

With the tales of the 8th place Los Angeles kings Cup win in the rearview mirror, the Isles can take comfort that an "improbable" win is possible in today's NHL playoffs.  Special teams, grit and patience will help the Isles stay sharp.  Has coach Capuano turned the corner with his team?  Has he really got this thing under control and does his team really buy into his leadership?  Signs point to yes.  He has risen to the second winningest coach in Isles history behind the great Al Arbour.  We shall see soon enough.


It may be my inner-fan talking and I may not really be objective, but I dont think so.  This team works well together and I think they will shock the world and find a way to win the series in 7 games.  I have watched them really mature this year.  Bad teams find a way to lose, good ones find a way to win.  They have become a good team, but are they really ready?



Playoff Matchups:


1. Chicago vs. 8. Minnesota                                        1. Pittsburgh vs. 8. NYI


            CHI in 5                                                                      NYI in 7


4. St. Louis vs. 5. L.A. Kings                                        4. Boston vs. 5. Toronto


            LA in 6                                                                        BOS in 6


2. Anahiem vs. 7. Detroit                                             2. Montreal vs. 7. Ottawa


            ANA in 7                                                                      OTT in 5


3. Vancouver vs. 6. San Jose                                        3. Washington vs. 6. NYR


            VAN in 6                                                                      WAS in 6




Isles Notes:

Lines at practice:

Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Reasoner-Okposo, Grabner-Aucoin-McDonald, Joensuu-Ullstrom-Martin, Boulton/Lee.

Defensive Paitings: Hamomic-MacDonald, Streit-Strait, Hickey-Visnovsky, Carkner/Finley-Martinek

Goaltenders: Nabokov & Poulin.

Islanders recall Nelson, Persson, Strome, Sundstrom, Donovan, de Haan, Ness& Nilsson from loan from Bridgeport.

Regarding Isles call ups, Nino will be at the Worlds for Switzerland and the rest of the guys will most likely just be brought up for experience of being with team as B.D. Gallof said a couple of days ago. Its about the Isles culture change I have mentioned over the course of the season. The team needs to experience operations at the next level.

Retweet #Isles fans! @NYIslanders playoff song here!! … … … … … #beLIeve#STRONGisland @FFDP

Per Kevin @IPB, "Could be some traffic issues for Game Three on Sunday."

B.D. Gallof, "Last time Isles not in game/competitive vs opponent all they back in 3/30. Have only lost by goal since."

Per @capgeek, "#NHL teams with best bang for buck ($/pt): 1. #NHLDucks 2. #STLBlues 3. #Blackhawks 4. #Penguins 5. #NYIsles.


Per Arthur Staple, The turning point of the Isles season was" ... we'll go with Nabokov taking a television timeout in the first period in Montreal on Feb. 21 to go down the bench and remind his teammates what they're capable of. The Isles were down 2-0, on their way to a 6-10-1 record and more of the same Isles play. Instead of standing in a corner of the zone, head down (as most goaltenders do during those timeouts), Nabokov saw what was needed. Hickey scored the OT winner and the Isles are 17-8-5 since."


Isles Fans in Bklyn  @IFiBklyn

ISLANDERS GAMEWATCH: PLAYOFF-EDITION WHEN: Game Two, Friday 6:30pm WHERE: O'keefe's Bar, 62 Court St, Brooklyn.

Isles Prospect Report.


NHL Notes:

This year, all 14 non-playoff teams have a chance at winning the lottery.  That means the winner can move up beyond the 4 place limit as previously outlined.  The remaining teams would slide accordingly.

Seth Jones?

Draft Lottery is as follows:

1. Colorado

2. Florida

3. Tampa

4. Nashville

5. Carolina

Friday, April 26, 2013

Respect Is Earned. Not Given.

John Tavares: "We can’t sit on just making the playoffs, because it will be over before we know it.”  

Making the post season needs to be seen as the first step, nothing more.

Tonight, your 8th place New York Islanders face the struggling Buffalo Sabers.  Jeff Capellini points out the Isles can finish 7th with win tonight, NYR loss vs. Devils Saturday, play Montreal, which ekes out Boston for Northeast.  Or lose and face Pittsburgh from 8th spot.  I think the Isles would take Pittsburgh over Boston in a best of 7 series if they had the choice.  Someone call Garth to sign Ray Ferraro and David Volek.  Seriously, the Isles need to explode into this game a ride some momentum into their first round match up.  #beLIeve  #STRONGisland


Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Aucoin-McDonald, Boulton-Cizikas-Martin.

Defensive Pairings:  Streit-Strait, Hamonic-MacDonald, Hickey-Carkner.

Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Kevin Poulin backing up.


In the first period, the Isles seem out of sync again on Defense.  Buffalo has little trouble transitioning into Isles zone and Nabokov has been forced to be the answer for the Isles.  They seem to be content in lowering their level of play.  Isles to the PP.  Their 7th ranked PP vs. Buffalo's 26th ranked PK.  Matt Moulson fans on an open net after nice pass from Boyes.  PP time expires.  Isles are slow, soft and lacking physicality yet again.  Seem to be fanning on clears and D zone passes.  Reason for concern evident in the first.  All Nabokov in that period.  Buffalo has a 10-9 shots advantage in the first. 


At the start of the second, an Isles turnover by Okposo in the Isles zone results in a 1-0 Sabers lead.  Seconds later, Strait goes off for a delay of game, Buffalo PP.  Islanders continue to look lost.  Officials miss Ennis splitting open Hickeys chin with a high stick. Hickey has become a necessary element of the Isles defense.  The team is better with him out there. Isles on brief 4 on 3, then 5 on 3 for :54.  The 26th ranked PK won that special teams battle.  Isles offense looks out of sorts.  3rd and 4th lines unable to generate punch thus far.  I am not sure what is wrong with the Isles team we have watched over the last month.  Carkner and Scott throw down by the benches.  Grabner with a nice breakaway at the end of period but comes up short.  Isles show some inspiration to end the period.  Isles out shoot Sabers 9-5 in the period and 18-15 after two.


In the third period, Evgeni Nabokov makes a huge save against Vanek off a 1 on 1 breakaway.  Isles keep stretching to try an open up their attack, but give-aways to Buffalo are allowing shots against.  Keith Aucoin (Andrew MacDonald) jumps on a rare mistake by Ryan Miller and ties the game at 1-1.  Aucoin is another great story of the 2013 Islanders.  The third period expires with the score still tied at 1-1.  Isles out shoot Buffalo 7-6 in the period and 25-21 after 3.  The Isles get an important point in the standings and will play for another one.  O.T. is coming for the 3rd time in the last 4 games.

In Overtime, Isles will get a 4-3 PP chance at 3:35 of O.T. thanks to Aucoin's hustle.  Isles use their time out.  Isles get some pressure on Buffalo and move puck well, but fail to score again with the 4 on 3 man advantage, despite dominating the period.  Time in O.T. period expires with Isles 5-1 in shots.  Isles 31-22 for the game.  Shoot out is next. 



Buffalo scores.

Frans Nielsen is stopped.

Buffalo is stopped.

Brad Boyes is stopped.

Buffalo is stopped.

John Tavares is stopped.


Buffalo wins 2-1.


Isles move up to sixth spot, at least for the moment with the Rangers and Ottawa idle tonight.




The Isles spent too much time in their own zone due to sloppy play and an inability to apply a forecheck or hit consistently.  Their offense was missing as was their team spirit that enabled them to storm into the playoffs.  You can not be denied from entering the offensive zone and cycling the puck, nor can you have you efficient PP stifled by one of the worst PK units in the league this season by a non playoff team.  Evgeni Nabokov kept the Isles in the game, 21 saves and a .955Sv%.  Without him, they may have been out of it or far behind early.  Obviously, its not over yet, but the Isles have a lot to be concerned about. Listless and numb effort wont get it done. Bad precedent into playoffs.  They were better in O.T. tonight, but were again bested in their usual position of strength - the shootout.


I know match-ups, stats and semantics are secondary to playing your game and competing against any opponent, regardless of their pedigree.  The Isles took a big step in making the playoffs, but more than just this writer wants to see them make the most of their chance.  I'm not saying they will win the cup, but if you lose, go down swinging and clawing.  Let your opponent know they survived you and that you made them work hard to beat you.  These are the NHL playoffs.  Long time fans know how feared the Isles were "in the day."  New fans deserve some of the same.  Its time for these Isles to carve out their own story and force the hockey world to take notice.  Respect is earned, not given.

I hope these last two loses were not what we can expect to see our team bring into battle, because the fans deserve the same effort from the team on the ice that they give supporting them.  I still think the plan should come together, because the team I saw go 11-1-3 were consistent, well disciplined and methodical in their attack. 
They never quit and found a way to win.  Bring that spirit back.

@tristateco said it well:  Great regular season and amazing final push. So proud of our boys! Come what may...PLAYOFFS!!!!!! #Isles #whynotus #wegotplayoffs #beLIeve


Isles Notes:

Retweet #Isles fans! @NYIslanders playoff song here!! … … … … … #beLIeve #STRONGisland @FFDP


PerNHLhistorygirl, "On this date in 2000, Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar purchased the Isles."


"On this date in 1975, Isles came back from a three games to none deficit to defeat the Pens 4-3 in the second round of the playoffs."


"Don't focus on the entire game. Just win this battle. Then the next one, and the next one." - Isles coach Al Arbour


Per Corey Graham, "The Oil Kings announce that Griffin Reinhart will miss a possible 6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his foot."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not Perfect. Still Improving.


Tonight, your New York Islanders face the Philadelphia Flyers, who would like nothing more than to help Kevin Poulin and the Isles to fall down to the 8th playoff spot with a win against them tonight.  The Islanders would like to control their own destiny and in this writers opinion, win tonight and tomorrow and reach 5th spot and face Montreal in the playoffs.  We will see what story unfolds.  #beLIeve #STRONGisland

Arthur Staple spells out the Isles playoff picture.  "Of the several dozen playoff scenarios that could come from tonight's results, #Isles can clinch no worse than 7th w/ win and #NYR loss.  Also with #Isles win and Leafs/Sens losses, #Isles would control destiny for 5th seed going into tomorrow vs. Buff.  #Isles loss tonight could drop them all the way back to 8th with #NYR/Sens wins; would also take their seeding fate out of their own hands.

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Aucoin-McDonald, Boulton-Cizikas-Martin.

Defensive Pairings:  Streit-Strait, Hamonic-MacDonald, Carkner-Visnovsky.

Kevin Poulin gets the start in goal.  Evgeni Nabokov gets a well deserved breather and should play against Buffalo tomorrow.

In the first period, the mood seems somber on both sides of the ice and the crowd seems lifeless.  The pace quickens about 6 minutes in as the first shot on goal is registered.  Isles may be in the midst of a let down and that is not good.  Hopefully, someone will wake them up soon before its too late.  Kevin Poulin makes a couple of nice stops and looks ok so far.  He has to be a little rusty.  Flyers on the PP, Boulton to the box.  Flyers take the lead 1-0 on a failed Carkner clear and a cross crease pass.  That one is not on Poulin.  Philly crowd is starting to get back into it.  Period ends with Flyers out shooting Isles 12-3.  This is where a winnig coach steps up.  Hoping for a better effort in the second with some fore & back checking.  Maybe some hits finished, better positioning and some cycling of the puck.

The second period opens with more of the same.  But then Carkner jumps in on the rush and Matt Moulson sets up John Tavares for the tip in.  He ties the game at 1-1, again leading the Isles by example.  Isles kill another Flyers PP.  Isles get first PP opportunity, but a fast whistle blows play dead.  Tavares gets stiff cross check behind Flyers net, play continues.  PP expires with little to show for it.  Arthur Staple mentions that the Isles are now 1 for their last 13 with the man advantage.  Reason for concern?  I'd say so.  Isles with some strong efforts in the Flyers zone at the end of the second period.  More shots on net and a more aggressive style of play have New York playing better.  Isles get a 8-6 shot advantage in the period, but Philly leads 19-12 after the second.

The Isles are struggling to move the puck and be in position to threaten in the offensive zone.  Visnovsky can do everything on both sides on the puck.  Isles outworking Philadelphia in the neutral zone resulting in a few turnovers for the Islanders thus far.  Isles are starting to gain momentum, especially the efforts of the 3rd and 4th lines.  Things getting nasty on the ice, Isles forced to answer and will be down a man for 2:00 at the half way point of the third period.  Poulin has tightened up and ooks more comfortable.  He looks good for an isolated road start late in the season.  Isles kill penalty.  Flyers get multiple chances on net, Isles defense has been too soft for too long.  Flyers score, 2-1 Philadelphia.  Poulin still looking sharp, keeping the Isles in this.  He is showing what he can do.  Its time for another set of heroics by someone.  Isles have an empty net with 1:40 to go.  Isles muster some strong pressure in the waining moments of the game, but fall short.  Flyers with the 11-10 shots advantage in the period and 30-22 in the game.  Kevin Poulin made 28 saves with a .933Sv%. 

Game recap:

Isles fall behind the Rangers in the standings, technically tied with a loss and a Ranger win tonight.  Rangers clinch a playoff birth and have the final tie breaker over Long Island.  Per Arthur Staple, " Worst possible result for #Isles: regulation loss and wins for Sens and #NYR. #Isles now in 8th and will stay there if those teams win again." 

Its the 1st regulation loss this month and 6 regulation loses in last 26 games is nothing to sneeze at, but the Isles fans are a fragile bunch. We cant handle what looks like habitual set backs once we feel the team has gone beyond. Consistency is key, but one failure does not deconstruct consistency.  But the reality is, it was a big loss tonight.  How big it really was, we have yet to see.


Unless the Isles bring their game, they surrender too much to chance.  So they need to bring it each and every shift.  They can't be wondering about yesterday, tomorrow or next week.  They need to focus on the now, which is tomorrow against Buffalo.  Hopefully, the Isles can move past the playoff celebration distractions and retool for their final "practice" before the big show next week.  The Isles have a big opportunity in making the playoffs this season.  Lets see what they can build on and how far they can go. 

I think the Isles should respond tomorrow.  #beLIeve.


Isles Notes:


Today's game against Philadelphia marks @MattyMarts17 200th career #NHL game (all in #Isles Orange & Blue).

Isles went 11-1-3 in last 15 games to get into the playoffs.

Road Warriors this season:  14-5-3.  The Blackhawks & Penguines lead NHL with 18 road wins.  Isles right behind them with 14.

Per Chris Botta, Over the last week, Islanders have sold more than 1,000 new full season tickets for 2013-14."

Per B.D. Galllof, "Been told if there are any Bridgeport call-ups for playoffs: not to play. To practice, to be around, to learn. "No one will play"

Griffin Reinhart, "Congrats to the @NYIslanders on making playoffs!

Rhett Rhakshani, "Congrats to the @NYIslanders staff and especially all of my former teammates for going to the playoffs! Rooting you all on!"

Per Zenon Konopka, "@NYIslanders @91Tavares @MMoulson @grabs40 @mattymarts17 Congrats boys on the playoff berth, you guys deserve this #playoffrun"

John Buccigross, "Islanders: have earned at least 1 point in 11 straight games (8 wins, 3 OT/SO losses). 14-5-3 on road this season #hugobossymen"

Per Kevin Morris, "Scary thought: Isles are a playoff team and their last 5 first round picks aren't even on the roster yet. #isles #playoffs #becauseitsthecup"

@RoseTintedVisor sums up, "Nino, Nelson, Strome, Rhino and CDH all waiting."

On rumor that the Isles will be changing colors and jersey in Brooklyn, my OPINION is this.  "If #Isles change colors, it will be third jersey honoring Bklyn. You may see patch added to current jersey at most. Colors, name, logo stay.  Wang & Bettman said colors, NY name & logo stay as condition for move @ Barclays presser. See my KoC article for press conf."  Here's my article on the Barclays presser and here is the spirit article I wrote about team jerseys.  We all know how well new Isles jersey designs are embraced by the fans.  Not advised.


Sound Tigers Notes:

Jordan Hill, "I want to thank @TheSoundTigers fans and organization for all the support this season! #BST"


NHL Notes:

NHL Network will release the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff schedule at 11 p.m. ET Sunday.


NHL announces draft lottery will be held Monday.



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Magic Number Is 0! Isles Are In The PLAYOFFS!

Your New York Islanders have yet to beat the Carolina Hurricanes this season, the only opponent that can make this claim.  With only 3 games remaining, 1 or 2 points tonight and a Jets loss would clinch a playoff birth for Long Island.  Then again, if the Isles just keep winning, who cares about what anyone else does.  #beLIeve  #STRONGisland

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Aucoin-McDonald, Joensuu-Cizikas-Martin.

Defensive Pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Hickey-Visnovsky, Streit-Strait.

Evgeni Nabokov gets the start, Kevin Poulin on the bench.  (Poulin has not played since 4/2.)

In the first period, the Isles getting good pressure early on.  Momentum changes and Semin beats Nabokov on a weak five hole shot.  1-0 Canes.  Soon after, Colin McDonald rips it off the goalpost.  The Islanders pushing back hard in the offensive zone, Brad Boyes deflects a Mark Streit shot.  Goal stands.  Game tied at 1-1.  Its good to have Brian Strait back in the game.  He's got skills and a bit of snarl.  Isles need to tighten up their game.  They are getting a little loose, unorganized on defense.  Canes jump out again and get another weak goal off a deflection in front of Isles crease, 2-1 Carolina.  The Isles need to get physical and move some bodies.  This needs to happen soon.  New York is out shooting Carolina 11-10.

The second period starts with some good puck movement and cycling by the Isles.  Jesse Joensuu continues to play well, and an all around asset.  Carolina keeps beating the Isles to the punch here.  They need some energy.  Frans Nielsen wins the face off, Okposo carries it in and Josh Bailey evens it at 2-2.  Isles goal!  Skinner almost skates away with Strait's stick, no call.  Isles lose the puck behind their net and after some blown coverage, its another lead for Carolina, 3-2 Canes.  Grabner breaks out and puts a dribbler through Ellis' legs, but he covers.  Shots were even at 10-10, Isles with a 21-20 edge after 2 periods.  Carolina outplaying New York who despite a sloppy game, continues to fight on.  Physicality isn't dialed in.  Isles need to be better.

The Isles get a PP to start the third, but struggle to even gain possession of the puck.  Big opportunity wasted early in the period.  The Joensuu-Cizikas-Martin has been stirring things up and slowly energizing Isles play.  Ruutu rings it off a post off a wide open net from a bad turnover by Nabokov.  Isles look flat.  Nabokov with a few big saves, Dan Ellis making several amazing saves.  Isles push into Carolina zone, John Tavares dishes over to Kyle Okposo for an Islanders goal!  (EDIT:  Game tieing goal has been credited to John Tavares) 3-3 with less than a minute to go until the final playoff point with a Washington win vs. the Jets.  At the end of regulation, the Isles out shot the Jets 11-7 in the period and 36-27 for the game.

In Overtime, both goaltenders make some big saves.  The Isles break into the Carolina zone a few times and apply some good pressure and putting pucks on net.  Dan Ellis with a huge save on John Tavres off a turnover with under a minute remaining.  Time expires with the score tied at 3-3.  Isles get a valuable point in the playoff race.  They out shoot Hurricanes 7-1 in O.T. for a final advantage of 39-32 in the game.  Evgeni Nabokov finshes O.T. with a .906Sv%.


Frans Nielsen misses.

Carolina scores.

Brad Boyes misses.

Carolina scores and wins the game 4-3 in the shootout.

Keys to the game:  Tonight, the Isles were outplayed and lost the physical challanges to Carolina.  They lost the races to the puck, were weak on the check.  They seemed lost.  Despite these factors, this team continues to compete until they find the elements of their game that allow them to remain in the fight.  Evgeni Nabokov hasnt looked like himself in the past 3 games, but has still helped the Islanders win.  He has a strong level on concentration and responds with focus after a surrendered goal.  He will most likely get a break for Thursdays game vs. the Flyers.  The Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo line continues to make an impact and enable a legitimate scoring threat in the Isles line up.  Joensuu play gets better with every game and his line with Cizikas & Martin is always dangerous. 

The Isles fought to gain a valuable point and although it took a uncharacteristic shoot out loss to beat them, they still fought until the end.  For the first time in six years, they will have an opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup.  Be realistic though.  The Islanders have a lot to prove, and haven't won anything yet.  But they have the chance to take the next step as an organization.  This team was forged in the trenches, lost together and now, they believe in each other. And it shows.  Don't discount how dangerous this team will be to play.  They know how to win. 

Enjoy this fans.  You have earned it.

Big Picture:  Your New York Islanders have made the NHL playoffs!!

Credit:  All Things Islanders

Isles Notes:

Erick Hornick points out what this Isles team has done in the way that only he can do it.  #IslesLegend

The Isles have earned 30 of a possible 42 road pts, allowed 28 or fewer shots in 15 of last 17 games & more.

@MattBarnaby3636  "With the Isles and Leafs making the playoffs I have started my full diet of EATING CROW. Need to slim down anyways..."

My Isles season preview for this year.  How'd I do?

Thanks to Mr. Wang and Mr. Snow for the possibility of Brooklyn and a core team to beLIeve in.

Sound Tigers Notes:

Per Brian Compton, "First pro season for former 1st-round pick Brock Nelson: 66 games, 25 goals, 27 assists.  Nino Niederreiter finishes with 28 goals and 22 assists in 74 games."

4/21  Sound Tigers WIN! @SquatchDonovan w/ 2 assists tying Schultz in AHL d-men scoring, Wetmore's first pro goal, BST close out season w/ 4-1 W!  Nilsson 20 saves.  @Bnelson29 beats Rawlings for is 25th of the year, setting the single-season record for goals by a rookie!

4/20  MacKinnon adds an empty-netter in the final moments, Bruins defeat the Sound Tigers 3-0. BST outshoots Providence 36-30.

@Reiter35  "Just wanted to say thank you to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and their fans for a great rookie season. Much appreciated #BST #GoSoundTigers"

@scottmayfield2  "Great time in Bridgeport but excited to get back to Denver tomorrow... Except for that class thing I have to do"