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NFT: Canadians vs Islanders @ 7pm @ The Barn Must See TV!!!

The 12th Man : 3/14/2019 2:07 pm
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (40-22-7) VS MONTREAL CANADIENS (37-26-7) @ 7pm

So with nothing major happening in Giants land unless you call trading OBJ something? LOL! Our Islanders are getting us through this putrid season and now off-season. With everything that is going on with our boys in Blue Thank God for the season the Islanders are having. Now we need to keep it going and make that push for the playoffs.

So, we are coming off an impressive victory over the Blue Jackets. Not our best 3rd period but a solid victory. Need to build off that victory. Griess should start again but Lehner came back to practice yesterday. Boychek will miss another game so he has now sat as long as Vorachek has. We have a chance to take back over 1st tonight with a win and a Caps
loss to the Flyers. It was nice to have an extra day off as Trotz has been complaining about lack of practice time for the team. They were able to get one in yesterday. We have won 3 of our last 4 and the Canadians have lost 3 of last 4. We finally play a team whose PP is worse than ours. I know you can not believe it either. The Habs are 15-43 in their last 58 games against teams with winning records. We need another solid all around effort we are only 8 points ahead of the Canadians and Blue Jackets. We need to win all these 4 point games. Hope the Barn is rocking tonight.

LINEUP NOTES:

Thomas Greiss is expected to start between the pipes tonight for the Islanders, marking his fourth straight. Robin Lehner will back Greiss up in his return to the lineup after missing three straight games with an upper-body injury.

Johnny Boychuk will remain out of the lineup after sustaining an upper-body injury against Philadelphia on Saturday. Per coach Barry Trotz, the defenseman has made progress and skated on his own for the first time this morning.

ISLES LOOKING TO JUMPSTART POWER PLAY:

The Islanders power play is in the midst of a drought entering Thursday's contest.

The power play is 0-for-20 over the past nine games, a slump they're looking to bust against the Canadiens, who boast the 16th-ranked penalty kill in the NHL at 80.4%. Over the past 10 games, the Canadiens have killed off 24-of-28 penalties (85.7%).

"We just have to work with what we have and they just have to get it done, plain and simple," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "That's a part of our game that we need to be better at. It needs to help us win games. It's gone through a bit of a dry patch right now."

The Islanders made a switch to their power-play units on Monday, moving Devon Toews into Nick Leddy's spot on the first unit. Trotz said he was just looking to shake things to see if he could "find a little lightning in a bottle."

The coach added that he's opted to keep Ryan Pulock with the second unit - which features two defensemen - so he can play him at the top of the circle and look for one-timers with a left-handed defenseman feeding him from the point. Pulock said the Isles have been getting chances and just need to break through.

"Sometimes we have some pretty good movement and control the puck, but don't always get pucks into high-scoring areas," Pulock said. "So I think that's a big key will be to simplify a little bit, continue with the puck movement, but when we get that chance, try to get some pucks on net and try to get some bodies there and hopefully outbattle and win some of those loose pucks."

Power-play opportunities become scarcer as the season goes along, so the Isles know how important it is to get the man advantage back on track.

"They become huge," Pulock added. "It seems might get one or two chances a night and those chances are crucial. Games are so tight and if you can win that special teams battle it gives you a better chance to win."

The Islanders are 4-11-2 in their last 17 games against the Canadiens. The Isles and Habs will conclude their season series on Mar. 21 in Montreal.

STANDINGS IMPLICATIONS:

As the playoff race heats up, the stakes continue to rise. For the Islanders (87 points), a win Thursday, coupled with a Washington Capitals (89 points) loss, would put the Isles in a first-place tie for the Metro Division. The Islanders are also trying to stay ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (85 points), who lurk two points back.

While the Isles are looking for a better seed, Montreal continues to vie just for a playoff bid. The Canadiens (81 points) are with tied Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets (38 ROW) hold the tiebreaker over the Canadiens' (35 ROW).

ISLANDERS NOTES:

- Robin Lehner practiced with the team on Wednesday for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Mar. 5 where the Swedish goalie collided with Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

Lehner was relieved to pass protocols and rejoin his team after missing three games and noted that after participating with full contact he feels, "100-percent."

"It's nice to be back," Lehner said. "It just sucks to be away from the guys especially this time of year. Being around the guys and being around the team is a huge thing."

Head Coach Barry Trotz said Lehner was a "possibility" to return to the lineup on Thursday, a scenario that seems likely with Christopher Gibson's loan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Trotz did not specify if Lehner would start, or just dress for the contest.

During Lehner's absence, goaltender Thomas Greiss recorded three wins, including a 2-0 shutout over Columbus on Monday, and a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.

- Johnny Boychuk sat out Wednesday's practice and is still recovering after sustaining an upper-body injury on Saturday against Philadelphia. Boychuk sustained the injury after a hit from Flyers winger Jakub Voracek. Voracek was administered with a five-minute major for interference on the play and was subsequently suspended for two games. The Islanders defenseman has yet to skate on his own, per Trotz.

"He's getting better," Trotz said. "He has not skated yet. He's more day-to-day than anything. I wouldn't say he's week-to-week. He's just day-to-day, but not today."

- While the Islanders have gotten results in three of their last four games (3-1-0), the power play is still looking to get back on track. The Isles power play is on an 0-for-20 stretch over the past nine games and is 15.2% on the season. The Canadiens penalty kill is ranked 16th in the league at 80.4 percent.

- The Islanders are wrapping up a stretch of eight-of-nine games at NYCB Live. They are 3-4-0 in the first seven games.

CANADIENS NOTES:

- The Canadiens enter Thursday's contest after defeating Detroit 3-1 on Tuesday night. The win over the Wings snapped a two-game losing streak for the Habs, who lost two straight in San Jose and Anaheim by a combined score of 13-4.

- Goaltender Carey Price became the winningest goaltender in the Canadiens franchise history on Tuesday, recording his 315th career win, passing Jacques Plante. Price is 29-20-5 this season with a 2.59 GAA and a .914 SV% with three shutouts.

- Forward Tomas Tatar returned to the lineup against Detroit after suffering from the flu and missing the Canadiens against the Ducks on March 8. The left-wing sits second in the Canadiens leaderboard with 22 goals and 50 points.

- Max Domi leads Montreal in scoring with 24 goals and 62 points.

Go Isles!
.  
Danny Kanell : 3/14/2019 2:10 pm : link
Going tonight. Can't wait. Another big one to keep a safe distance from the Wild Card teams.
Back in 1st with a regulation win  
KDubbs : 3/14/2019 2:13 pm : link
And I believe knocking that magic number down to 14. Looked much better vs the bjs. Just play like that or a little bit better the rest of the way and we can hold on to home ice.
Canadiens  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2019 2:13 pm : link
need a win. Playoff hopes are fading.

After Weber, Habs D is a patch work of mediocrity. Mete is a good skater, but more like a Krug who should be on PP only, not a great top pair D. Petry decent, good skater, good shot, but the rest, AHL D pretty much. Losing Noah Juulsen for the year really hurt.
Would like to see some possession  
Metnut : 3/14/2019 2:13 pm : link
and some offense tonight. 2 pts also would be nice!

Our top 6 needs to start producing if this team is going to go anywhere in the playoffs.
we need to play with desperation tonite  
theold5j : 3/14/2019 2:15 pm : link
we need this one bad with 8 of the next 12 on the road.
The power play has to get going  
Mike from Ohio : 3/14/2019 2:28 pm : link
And the defensive effort from Tuesday needs to be there again. Dropping two or three games in a row will put this team in a position where the playoffs are anything but assured.

It's about time for a breakout game from Barzal. This time of years the top guys have to assert themselves. Let's see if Barzal is up to the task.
RE: The power play has to get going  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2019 2:32 pm : link
In comment 14336899 Mike from Ohio said:
Quote:
And the defensive effort from Tuesday needs to be there again. Dropping two or three games in a row will put this team in a position where the playoffs are anything but assured.

It's about time for a breakout game from Barzal. This time of years the top guys have to assert themselves. Let's see if Barzal is up to the task.


Canadiens have a league worst PP and middle of the pack in PK.

It's a major reason they are where they are.

5v5 one of the better teams, on the specials, not so much. They are also a bad FO team.

RE: The power play has to get going  
Metnut : 3/14/2019 2:33 pm : link
In comment 14336899 Mike from Ohio said:
Quote:
And the defensive effort from Tuesday needs to be there again. Dropping two or three games in a row will put this team in a position where the playoffs are anything but assured.

It's about time for a breakout game from Barzal. This time of years the top guys have to assert themselves. Let's see if Barzal is up to the task.


CLB had a lot of good looks against us, especially in the second. We really need to carry the play out of our zone if we're going to sustain success.
Really like what everyone is writing here.  
The 12th Man : 3/14/2019 2:51 pm : link
1 have to play solid D

2. PP must get better

3. Top 6 forwards better show up down the stretch

4. Have to win remaining conference games.

5. Have to be better getting pick out of our zone.

6. Another mini win streak goes long way to relaxing Islander fans never of getting into the playoffs

7. Have to play desperate but not tight.

8. Canadians not much talent at the forward spots

9. Back in 1st with a win and a Caps loss

10. YES! YES! YES!
Disagree  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2019 3:01 pm : link
Canadiens are loaded at the forward spots with talent, just not elite talent. Their main issue is D not F.

They don't have a Kucherov or Crosby or Bergeron IOW they don't really have a 1st line (yet - Kotkaniemi will be near that level), but they have 3 2nd lines IMO, and they're deep and if they show up (which has been an issue) their forecheck is tough, very tough because they a re all high motor guys.

Tatar Danault Galagher (not an NHL 1st line, but a good 2nd line)
Byron Domi Shaw (again, decent 2nd line)
Drouin Kotkaniemi Weal (not together long but wow this line has some skill, Drouin is maddening though)
Lehkonen Thompson Armia (these guys are 3rd liners at worst)

RE: Disagree  
Mike from Ohio : 3/14/2019 3:57 pm : link
In comment 14336999 pjcas18 said:
Quote:
Canadiens are loaded at the forward spots with talent, just not elite talent. Their main issue is D not F.

They don't have a Kucherov or Crosby or Bergeron IOW they don't really have a 1st line (yet - Kotkaniemi will be near that level), but they have 3 2nd lines IMO, and they're deep and if they show up (which has been an issue) their forecheck is tough, very tough because they a re all high motor guys.

Tatar Danault Galagher (not an NHL 1st line, but a good 2nd line)
Byron Domi Shaw (again, decent 2nd line)
Drouin Kotkaniemi Weal (not together long but wow this line has some skill, Drouin is maddening though)
Lehkonen Thompson Armia (these guys are 3rd liners at worst)


This is a quandry the Islanders have had. They are very deep, but they don't have any true goal scorers. Lee gets primarily deflections and rebounds, Barzal still looks to often to pass instead of shoot, and Nelson has a really good wrist shot but is very slow to get it off. This is why we need a guy like Wahlstrom who can just put the puck in the net.

The scoring is very evenly dispersed across all four lines which is nice, but there is not one line you can lean on when the team struggles which it has lately.
Islanders and Canadiens  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2019 4:09 pm : link
are similar except the Islanders D is playing like most people expected them to play last year. I was surprised how bad their D was last year. And the Isles are getting better goalie play than last year.

Trotz doesn't impact goalie play per se, but he probably does the D to an extent with his system. And D play impacts goalies (not just defenseman, but full teams defense)
The defense is much improved  
Mike from Ohio : 3/14/2019 5:10 pm : link
Leddy had a horrific year last year but is playing better now. The development of Pulock, Pelech and Mayfield has kept Hickey out of the lineup since he returned from injury a couple of weeks ago. But far and away the biggest reason is they play structured defensive hockey now. That was never the case with Weight and Cappy.

And agree on the goaltending. Lehner and Greiss have both played better thanks to Korn and Greco, and Lehner getting his life together, but again they are getting much better play in front of them.
Good start  
JayBinQueens : 3/14/2019 7:21 pm : link
Price looking sharp for the habs
yea this carey price guy is pretty freaking good  
Eric on Li : 3/14/2019 7:41 pm : link
looks like we're gonna need some lucky redirections to get anything by him.
Solid 1st oeriod  
The 12th Man : 3/14/2019 7:50 pm : link
Keep the same pressure on them in the 2nd
RE: yea this carey price guy is pretty freaking good  
JayBinQueens : 3/14/2019 8:07 pm : link
In comment 14338300 Eric on Li said:
Quote:
looks like we're gonna need some lucky redirections to get anything by him.

Or a run into him but we're not a dirty team
We played well  
The 12th Man : 3/14/2019 9:00 pm : link
But we have to be more relentless in front of the net.
Price is a wall tonight.  
BlueHurricane : 3/14/2019 9:30 pm : link
:-(
Not there  
BlueHurricane : 3/14/2019 9:32 pm : link
That was pretty!!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!
Big win for the Islanders  
Mike in NY : 3/14/2019 9:37 pm : link
Much needed 2 points
Beautiful  
KDubbs : 3/14/2019 9:48 pm : link
Would be nice to get some help in other games though
Good effort and good result.  
Mike from Ohio : 3/14/2019 10:07 pm : link
The team played well and had a lot of opportunities. Price was a beast.

Need to get two against Detroit Saturday going into two tough games against Minnesota and Boston.
great effort  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2019 10:13 pm : link
from the Islanders tonight. Poor effort from Montreal. Game was probably in their end 40 out of 60 min.

a ton of turnovers too.

Islanders earned the win, despite Carey price heroics. That game should have been 5 - 1.
Really fun game to watch  
pganut : 3/14/2019 10:17 pm : link
Two similar teams square off, and usually the Isles struggle in those games. They tend to amp up their game when the odds against are greater. I expected the Habs to out-Islander the Isles and was interested to see the response. It felt kinda like one of those good early/mid 80's middleweight bouts.

What we got was an inspired effort from the blue and orange, where they were far more often the aggressor. Lots of excellent chances, and Price was the stud we've come to know. IMO, another night or another goalie, Isles could have had a few more, certainly. As expected, the Habs withstood the Isles' waves and generated a couple of chances on counters. Isles mostly kept the chances to the outside, but Greiss definitely had some key saves along the way. He's been awesome when we've needed him to stand tall during Lehner's recovery process.

A nice steal and skate-in by Barzal on the 2 on 1, and the patience and ability to execute the nutmeg saucer pass on Petry...just a beauty. Excellent rip by Lee to get it by Price. The PP had some typical WTF moments, but they certainly had a couple of excellent sequences in the 2nd half of a couple of them. Need to convert in this stretch run, but encouraging signs.And, of course, what can you say about Casey? Just another all around well-played game. The energizer bunny.

Finally, I think the little scuffling patch definitely may be attributable to several guys being sick at the time, as rumored. They're a different team the past couple of games.
They still are not finishing off with goals  
The 12th Man : 3/15/2019 8:06 am : link
But they are playing hard. The goalie is also getting paid and that is one spot that with out a doubt has been been so much better over the last decade. I wish we had a real finisher on this team, it would be scary if we did. Beau had a few looks last night that he did not even hit the net. I like our D and how they have picked it back up the last few games.

We have to solve the PP riddle. They are trying to set Pullock up too much. Good things happen when you shoot the puck. I thought our energy was great last night. Thought Barzal had one of his better games in a long time. Maybe he is ready to break the 12 game goal scoring drought. I thought it was poetic justice that Lee scored the Game Winner. Thought he was getting beat up without a penalty all night without a penalty. What I saw from Eberle was a guy who just needs one to go in and I think the flood gates will open. He played very well last night. Griess made 2 huge saves in the 2nd period. He really has been so solid all year. Love our CCM line. When they are healthy we are a different team.

The same effort over the next 12 and we will have home ice can not let up. Saturday is a must win against a team that has their younger players hungry to show what they can do. Caps have to play the Lightning twice over next week. Have to think they are going to want to send a message. Be nice if we can be back in 1st by next weekend.
Best game I've seen from the team  
Metnut : 3/15/2019 8:21 am : link
in a few weeks. They really played Islander hockey. Smart and disciplined in their defensive zone. Relentless pressure by the "4th line." Good goaltending. Offensive zone time. Just good stuff all around versus a good and desperate team.

This type of effort will give them a chance to win a series or two come playoff time. Isles won't be an easy out if they can play like this.
LeBrun feeling like we’ll be active in the offseason  
pganut : 3/15/2019 9:16 am : link
I’ll preface this by saying I hate articles by “insiders” who admittedly use a lot of “I think” and “I feel”, because their guess is really no better than ours, but this was interesting from Chris Nichols’ site:

Quote:
LeBrun on Islanders: ‘Believe me, this is just the beginning’
March 14, 2019 Chris Nichols

The ascension of the New York Islanders has caught the attention of hockey fans across the league, and the fun may just be getting started for Lou Lamoriello.

Pierre LeBrun had a Thursday evening radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.

With the Canadiens and Islanders squaring off, much of the segment was spent looking at the remarkable improvement the Islanders have made in 2018-19 under Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello.

At one point, LeBrun was asked to drill down on the Lamoriello angle a tad.

“It was crushing to Lamoriello to lose Tavares,” LeBrun reflected. “The Tavares thing went to the eleventh hour. It was down to either staying with the Islanders or going to the Leafs, and that was really tough to stomach for Lamoriello.

“And then he made some very non-headline moves. He brings in Filppula, brings in Robin Lehner, a few other little moves - none of them grabbing attention of anyone, but they’ve all panned out. Komarov, I still think it’s a little too much money for Leo Komarov, but he’s played well. He’s part of the fabric of that team, where you don’t like playing against him.

“Believe me, this is just the beginning. It’s a scary feeling for other teams around the league, I would suggest, that the Islanders have a ton of cap room now - I think they have the fourth-most cap room right now in the NHL - and they might even have more if they don’t re-sign - they have eight pending UFAs. They’re going to want to keep some of them. I’m sure they want to keep Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, their captain, but they may not keep everyone.

“So they already have cap room. They may have even more. I would say watch out. I think they’ll be players on Panarin. I think they’ll be players on the trade market. And who knows if an offer sheet comes out of there.

“So I think the Islanders will be a real wild card team in the offseason.”
I agree that the best is yet to come  
The 12th Man : 3/15/2019 9:42 am : link
But I am enjoying the ride until it does. This has been pretty good so far.
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