Tag Archives: islanders

Isles play their last game on Long Island

The speedy Islanders led by John Tavares, were one unlucky deflection away from winning last nights game six in regulation.  Even getting to game six against the stacked Penguins surprised the hockey world, and this team will be a force for years to come.

But they were five minutes away from forcing the Pens into game seven.  And if this Paul Martin clapper from the point hadn’t deflected off of Frans Nielsens stick and gone perfectly bar-down, then we’d be seeing one game series tonight.

The Isles have gone from the basement to a legitimate playoff team after showing the entire NHL what they can do this postseason.  And their fans on Long Island are just gonna have to cross the bridge over to Brooklyn to cheer on their team at the Barclay’s Centre.

Here are three things that leaped out at me and force fed me formula.

1.) John Tavares held his own against Sidney Crosby in this series.

We all knew Johnny T was good, but what I never knew was how friggin’ strong this guy is.  The big matchup in this series was him versus Crosby and he didn’t finish second best in any categories.  Crosby did score more points, but Tavares was dominant almost every single shift.

Not only did he have an incredible playoff series, but he was nominated for the Hart Trophy earlier this week.  He is running up against Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.  And it was only just a few years ago where the thought of anyone other than Ovechkin and Crosby winning the Hart was unbearable.  But this kids for real.

Islanders fan believe so too, because in game four when the Isles shelled former first rounder Marc-Andre Fleury for six goals, Tavares was the man who scored the fifth and eventual game winner.  It was a pretty one too, as he made Brooks Orpik look like a pylon and went shelf on the Flower.

2.) Every team since 04′ that has drafted first overall is a legit team now, except for the Oilers.

Here’s a list:

2004 Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin  Russia Forward Dynamo Moscow Russia
2005 Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby  Canada Forward Rimouski Océanic QMJHL
2006 St. Louis Blues Erik Johnson  USA Defenceman United States NTDP NAHL
2007 Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane  USA Forward London Knights OHL
2008 Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos  Canada Forward Sarnia Sting OHL
2009 New York Islanders John Tavares  Canada Forward London Knights OHL
2010 Edmonton Oilers Taylor Hall  Canada Forward Windsor Spitfires OHL
2011 Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  Canada Forward Red Deer Rebels WHL
2012 Edmonton Oilers Nail Yakupov  Russia Forward Sarnia Sting OHL

Ovechkin has made the Capitals a force year in and year out, Crosby has done the same for the Pens, and that includes a Stanley Cup and Gold at the Olympics.

Erik Johnson never panned out in St. Louis, but they received assets in Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk.  Stewart led the team in points, and Shattenkirk in points for a defensemen.

Everyone knows what Patrick Kane has done in Chicago with the help of captain Jonathan Toews.

Stamkos has become that guy that can compete against Ovechkin for the Richard, and even helped St. Louis win an Art Ross at the age of 37.

And then there’s Tavares, his point totals have increased every year that he’s been in the NHL, and coincidentally the Islanders have rocketed up the standings as well.

The Oilers have Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Yakupov and they should be a force soon, but they’ve still got a lot of work to do.

The Avs won the draft lottery, and will probably take Nate Mackinnon, who will make their top three centres Duchene, Mackinnon and Stastny.  Lethal.

3.) The Pens won’t win the Stanley Cup.

I know, it’s a pretty big accusation.

When you think about it, what are they gonna do if they run into a hot goaltender?  Nabokov was alright in the series, but he still let in a lot of questionable goals like the one off of Douglas Murray’s stick.

If the Isles had say, Lundqvist of the Rangers or even Holtby from the Capitals this series probably would have gone the other way.

They’ve got Chris Anderson and the pesky Sens in the second round.  Anderson would have been a shoe-in for the Vezina had he not gotten hurt earlier in the season.  He’s got a 950 save percentage and a 1.8 goals against average.  This was against the number two ranked Habs.  This goaltending combined with the fire power that the Sens have, which could be bolstered if Spezza is cleared, will be a tough task for the Stanley Cup favourites.

And what if they do make it through?  Then they’ve gotta either face Rask, Lundqvist, Holtby or Reimer.  All three are better than the two goalies that the Pens have.  I feel they could take Reimer and the Leafs, but the Capitals have proved they can play tight defensively, Lundqvist is a Vezina finalist and the Rask and the Bruins are just too powerful and stingy.

I do predict that Anderson will shut down the Pens offence and that the Sens will take it in six.  Anyways, everyone loves an underdog right?

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Second Canadian team eliminated, first one advances

In a series that saw a whole lotta drama, the pesky Sens have prevailed, and are off to the Eastern Conference Semis, chucking the Montreal Canadiens onto the golf courses.

Who will they meet? Probably the Pens, but for now Paul MacLean is just happy that he beat his moms favourite team.

The Sens can relish on the fact that they took out the number two seeded Canadiens, and that nobody even expected their injury depleted lineup to make the playoffs.

If not for injuries, Anderson would have ran away with the Vezina, Karlsson would have pushed a point-per-game giving him Norris talk, and Spezza would have had a shot at the Art Ross.  But nonetheless, the bingo boys from Binghamton and the core of veterans led this team to the playoffs, with a little help from Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop on the way.

It’s been a full team effort from this squad to advance, and they know it.

And pesky gets a lot more sexy in the second round.

But enough of this Senators talk, my top three from last night.

1.) Two more eliminations

Not only were P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens shoved aside last night, but the Minnesota Wild and their $196 million signings were as well.

After losing Nick Backstrom before the series even started, they went to backup Josh Harding for the first four games.  But then he too was hurt, and young Darcy Kuemper was forced to start the final game of the series.  You really gotta feel for the Wild, because not only did they lose their starting and backup tendy’s, but they were stuck with the friggin’ Chicago Blackhawks.

8326965

Both the Habs and the Wild should be back in the playoff hunt next year, and hey, at least they lasted longer than the Canucks.

2.) Sidney Crosby scores a sick goal.

If you haven’t seen it, watch this first.

I couldn’t find it on YouTube but it’s there, John Tavares does almost exact same move as what Crosby did just one minute later.  Only difference is that if Fleury was in net instead of Vokoun he would have scored, and if he had scored, it would have been a 2-1 game.  But since he didn’t, that allowed this to happen:

Hmm, remind you of someone?

Funny how Malkin does it one year earlier, and then Crosby just has to one-up his Russian counterpart by doing it in the playoffs.

3.) Teams on the brink

The goal above sealed last nights victory for the Pens, making the series 3-2 as it heads back to the Nassau Coliseum for quite possibly the last game on Long Island.  Princess Crosby chants will be a plenty.  

just a nice drawing I mucked up off the interwebs.

just a nice drawing I mucked up off the interwebs.

The Leafs look to win tonight so they can bring game six back to Toronto, which will be no small task at TD Garden.  Maple Leaf Square will be rocking tonight though, that’s for sure.

St. Louis, after taking the first two games at home, have lost three straight to the Kings, and need to win or else it’s two years in a row that they’ve been steam-rolled by Los Angeles.  If the Kings advance, they could very well replicate what they did last Spring.

Detroit looks to hunt down some Ducks tonight in the Motor City.  They have not lost back-to-back first rounds in their 22 year playoff streak, and are at risk of that happening tonight.  They’d also like to force a game seven in Cali.  

If the Leafs can make a comeback they will give Canada a 25 % chance in winning the cup, and if both Cali teams win tonight, then all three teams from Arnold’s state will still be alive.

Sunday funday in the NHL

Leafs fans couldn’t be happier from what transpired last night.  First, the Habs got pummelled by the Sens both on the scoresheet and with fists, then the Canucks got hosed by the Sharks, and are now on the brink of elimination.

But here ya go, the top three from last night.

1.) Sens and Habs really don’t like eachother.

Other than the line brawl, we got to see a Subban ground and pound on Kyle Turris, a Josh Jorges intentional slap-shot at Turris and not only is Paul MacLean a bug-eyed fat walrus, but he is now a “classless” bug-eyed fat walrus.

In last night’s game, Michelle Therrien called Paul MacLean classless after he used a timeout with 17 seconds left in a 6-1 schlacking.   But if you ask me, if your team is gonna instigate fights, shoot pucks at my players and basically just throw the game away, why wouldn’t I try and score more goals?  Although, MacLean probably just didn’t want anyone to get hurt, scoring more goals is always fun.

2.) AV’s noose has tightened and the window has slammed shut.

The Canucks are down 3-0 for the second year in a row.  After being up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, the Canucks have mustered up one win in the playoffs.  That’s a beautiful record of 1-9.

As a Canucks fan, you’ve gotta think that Vigneault’s tenure in Vancouver is screeching to a halt.  Sure he took them to the cup finals, and sure he is the most winningest coach in team history, but he has just not gotten the job done.  He makes questionable decisions in assembling his troops and plays favourites.  Edler and Raymond ring a bell? What about the swift skating Keith Ballard being stapled to the press-box?  Or what about last night, when he decided to slot in a cold Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo? You think Canucks fans will now realize that Lu isn’t the problem? So many questions, only one answer.  Vigneault has to go.

Sitting from the sidelines, my biggest beef with AV has got to be the fact that a young budding power forward named Zack Kassian hasn’t been riding shot gun with the Sedins.  I mean, did he not score a bunch of goals at the beginning of the season with them? Does he not create space by hitting hard and driving (sometimes) to the net?

Oh, and one more, Jason Garrison isn’t on the first power play unit?  Hmm kinda just a little bit goofy.  What are they paying him for anyways? Yes, he is a reliable defensemen, but his clap-bomb is the money maker for that guy.  My guess is that he just wants Elder to look good because he is so brutal defensively.

Just read the comments, I’m not the only one.

The window is shut, and it really stings for Canucks fans.

where'd all of the "fans" go?

where’d all of the “fans” go?

3.) The Islanders are actually really entertaining.

Anyone remember last year when the Penguins lost to the Flyers in the first round? The Bryzgalov vs. Fleury saga has now become Nabokov vs. Fleury.

Other than the 5-0 win in game one, the Flower has given up eight goals, and Nabokov has a 4.77 goals against average in the first three.

But the thing is that nobody, I mean nobody gave the Islanders a chance in this series.  And when you have goaltending that is suspect, anything can happen.

Especially when you’ve got players like Kyle Okposo who steps his game up in the playoffs.

After scoring the game winner in OT in game two, he scored the goal that sparked the comeback yesterday for the Isles.

It’s nice to know that when you’re losing, you have a chance to come back and make it a hockey game, and the Isles have just that.  If only there were a team on the West Coast that could use some of that magic?

Lets just hope that the Islanders ice girls make their way over to Brooklyn.

Vancouver could use some of these

Vancouver could use some of these

At least if they don’t, the Isles will have Alyonka Larionov.

Annnnnd tonight: Leafs play first playoff home game in nine years, Capitals look to make it 3-0 on the Rangers, the battle of the titans in LA and the Red Wings look to go duck hunting at home.

Zero wins in Canada

With the second night of playoff hockey in the books, the Canucks and Leafs were outscored by a combined 7-2.  Both teams opened the scoring in their respective series’, but some undisciplined play on each end sparked a string of unanswered goals.

For the Leafs, the hype of the nine year absence was short-lived, as after the first five minutes of the game the B’s took it to the Leafs offensively, peppering James Reimer with 40 shots.  If not for Reims the score could have been worse than 4-1.  The Leafs may have gotten away with being outshot in the regular season but in the playoffs it’s just not gonna work.  Especially when you’re up against a team like the Bruins.

The Canucks-Sharks game was close up until the third period.  It’s like they followed the regular season script to a tee; play a close game for two periods and let the foot off the gas just in time for the third.  Some notable absences in the Canucks lineup were Mason Raymond, Zack Kassian and the Sedins, who will all need to pick it up in game three.  It would be nice to see Kassian drive the net and for Raymond to just sit a whole game.

Luongo made a sick save on Havlat though.

But here we go, the top three stories from last night.

1.) Pens are too good

Where do we start? A five-nothing schlacking in game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs without the best player in the world, and having a 40 goal scorer in James Neal limp off the ice halfway through.  I’m hoping it’s just playoff jitters for the Isles because if it keeps going this way, the series will be done in four, and that will give them time to rest some injured troops.

But after last nights performance from the Pens, I wouldn’t be surprised if they rest Jussi Jokinen (who took a knee-on-knee) and Neal for the rest of the series.

Same with Crosby, I mean, if the series begins to go sour for the Pens then they’ll bring Sid in, but until that happens he’s better off sitting in the press-box.

2.) Brad Marchand and James Van Riemsdyk do not like each-other. 

Being a Canucks fan, I feel a little bit bad for Leafs fans after they got pummelled last night by the Bruins.  Watching the game, it looked a lot like how the Cup Finals did whenever the Canucks were playing in Boston.  Just a bunch of big bastards running around smashing the Leafs and scoring goals.  And then you have damn Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron out there who are both stupidly good defensively.

The worst thing though, is the fact that they’ve got to put up with Brad Marchand.  He is the ultimate pest, and has already gotten under the skin of the Leafs, particularly JVR.

Spear to the nuts, swing and a miss.

This should be awesome if this series goes long, it just would’ve been better if JVR was swapped with Kadri.

3.) Logan Couture and his jibs

This guy is ugly.  Real ugly.

Yup, pretty much hit the nail right on the head with those two.

Not only is he ugly though, but he draws a lot of penalties and scores some goals for the Sharks.  Just four minutes after the Canucks opened the scoring, err Raffi Torres opened the scoring, Couture and his jibs drew a pretty soft call off of Kassian.  And to make matters worse, who else but friggin’ Couture to score the goal.

At least Raffi is still a Canuck, but they’re definitely gonna need to convert Couture over too.

And if I see another ‘Luongo sucks’ tweet I’m gonna lose it.  Could have been 3-0 Sharks after the first period.

The East

It’s playoff time baby so stop what you’re doing and grab a snickers.

But seriously, if you have a job you should probably quit it.

The East:

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins VS. #8 New York Islanders

First off nobody cares about how the teams matched up in the regular season.

What’s up: I can only imagine how pissed off Islanders fans were last night when they realized that the Bruins losing to the Sens meant a date with the Penguins.  The Pens are an absolute juggernaut, and if Crosby comes back to the lineup early on, I don’t see the Isles winning even one game.  With Sid in as the first line centre that drops Jokinen into a third line role, and Brandon Sutter into a fourth line.  When you look at the Isles up front– Taveres, Nielsen, Aucoin and Cizikas– it doesn’t even compare to what the Pens have to offer.

Matchup: Sidney Crosby VS. John Taveres – Both of these guys are getting serious attention for the Hart, and rightfully so.  It took Marty St. Louis 25 days to pass Crosby’s point total, and Crosby is still tied for third in the league in points.  Crosby’s 1.56 points-per-game is the highest of his career, and if he comes back and produces at that same pace, I don’t know how any team can stop the Pens.  But Taveres on the other hand, if you take him out of the lineup, you take the entire Islanders team out of the dance.  He was their leader all season, and in a regular 82 game season he would have tallied 50 goals.

Gamebreakers: For the Penguins it has to be Iggy.  This is his first real shot on a

where is his Flames uni?

where is his Flames uni?

contender(The Flames cup run doesn’t count) and Iginla, who is already a clutch performer will most likely be paired up on a line with Crosby and either Kunitz or Dupuis.  Basically just a recipe for success.  Let’s not forget the extremely potent power-play combination of Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Iginla and Letang

And for the Islanders; Michael Grabner.  This guy can fly, he won the fastest skater competition when he was a rookie.  He can score some goals too.  He’s one of those streaky bastards where you never know if he’s gonna produce or become invisible.  But with the heavy artillery primarily focused on Taveres and Moulson it may give Grabner some room to soar.

Prediction: The Isles are headed up, but it’s the luck of the draw this year.  The Pens are just too good, and will take the Islanders in four.  Let’s just hope I’m wrong.

#2 Montreal Canadiens VS. #7 Ottawa Senators

What’s up: Unlike the Islanders, the Habs and Sens were both pretty happy last night with what happened in Boston.  The Habs won the division, which ensures them home-ice in the first two rounds, and the Sens avoided Pittsburgh.  Both teams are coming off of over-achieving seasons  so this series could go either way.  It’s gonna come down to a coaches duel, as both Maclean and Therrien should be put into consideration for the Jack Adams.  The biggest hurdle that these two teams will have to overcome is the intense travel schedule.  I wonder if they’re just gonna take Mega Bus?

Matchup: P.K. Subban VS. Erik Karlsson – These guys are young, they’re good and they can both quarterback a power-play.  Subban led all defenseman in points with 38 and came second in power-play goals for a defenseman with seven.  The only guy with more was Andrei Markov.  Subban had a Norris calibre season.  The winner of the Norris last season was Karlsson, who if he hadn’t severed 70% of his achilles in February probably would have ran head-to-head with Subban.  Game one will be his fourth game back and the Sens are gonna have him logging lots of minutes if they wanna get through to the second round.

Gamebreakers: Montreal has two bright stars for their organization, their names are Alex

the two little munchkins and coach

the two little munchkins and coach

Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.  Galchenyuk had a hot start to the season but cooled off near the end, and if he can lead the secondary scoring the Habs will be a threat.  Gallagher just needs to continue to do what he does best.  And that is to piss off the opposing team and score some goals.

The return of Jason Spezza is like going out and getting a superstar at the trade-deadline.  He is good.  If he can come back healthy at some point in this series, it’s gonna give the Senators an added boost.  They’ve made it this far with an AHL lineup and having Spezza back would be huge.

Prediction: The series is gonna go long and I am predicting an upset.  The Sens will take the Habs in seven.  Book it.  Craig Anderson will outplay Carey Price and Spezza will make a return that will bolster the offence.

#3 Washington Capitals VS. #6 New York Rangers

What’s up: For the fourth time in five years, the Caps and Rangers will see each-other in the post-season.  If the playoffs started a month ago, both of these squads would not be in this position, as they both popped the clutch and chucked it into sixth gear for the final month of the regular season.  The revival of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green may become the achilles heel of the Rangers’ season.  But the same can be said of King Hank who looks to be en-route to his second Vezina in two years.

Matchup: Alex Ovechkin VS. Rick Nash – Ovi and Nash are both known to put their teams on their backs and run the ball, errrrr puck.  If Maria Kirilenko continues to show up at the Verizon centre, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Ovechkin will continue this ridiculous pace that saw him score 23 goals in his last 23 games to secure the Rocket Richard.  And this is Nash’s first ever playoff appearance on a real team, so he won’t have to put too much stress on his back this year, but he’s got to be that offensive force that goes toe-to-toe with Ovechkin.  If Nash can’t match him, then I don’t know if the Rangers will get through to the second round.

Gamebreakers: In the Nation’s Capital, the Caps are gonna be relying heavily on Mike Green to continue to quarterback this top-ranked power-play.  At just over 26%, the Capitals power-play will be a huge part in them beating Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers.  With Greens grown maturity and hipster lifestyle, let’s just hope that he can play a little bit of defence as well.

Watch as Green picks the shit out of that corner and goes top-cheese.

At Madison Square Garden, Derek Stepan is that quiet threat that can rip holes through the Capitals defence.  If he can continue being that secondary scoring threat, and I think he will in this series, then the Rangers will have a chance.  That is, if Nash can mirror Ovechkin, which is no small task.

Prediction: Both teams are looking to keep up the solid play, but Ovechkin and company will prove to powerful for the Rangers.  Especially if the blue-shirts find themselves getting into a little bit of penalty trouble.  Capitals in six.

#4 Boston Bruins VS. #5 Toronto Maple Leafs

What’s up: I don’t even know if people blogged the last time that the Leafs were in the playoffs, but that doesn’t matter anymore, because they’re in.  And it’s not like they just barely squeaked by, the Leafs had a legitimate season, and that’s why they have a pretty good chance against the Bruins.  Sure, Boston has generally beaten up on the Leafs in the past, and sure a Leafs-Habs first round would have been one for the ages, but the Bruins are the fate, and Leafer fans are gonna have to live with it.  These two teams play a very similar type of hockey, and the big guns in Toronto are gonna make it or break it for the Leafs. This is the time for Kessel to step up and score his first goal against his former team.  He’s also gonna have to outplay Seguin and Hamilton so that the Leafs advance and the comments about how bad of a trade Burke made in acquiring Kessel was, are silenced.

Matchup: Zdeno Chara VS. Leafs Offence – Chara is big, and Kessel is pretty small.  With that being said, Kessel is gonna need some help from the likes of Kadri, Lupul and Bozak.  The Leafs have quite a bit of fire-power up front and a generally weak defensive corps, so if they want to win this series, their big-guns will have to be firing on all cylinders.  They’ve got to take more shots than they give up.  The Leafs are gonna have to stop being out shot by a country mile, because in the playoffs that’s not gonna fly, especially against a team that is so defensively sound in Boston.  When you look at the fact that it would be Chara versus the Leafs offence in Boston and Subban versus the Leafs offence in Montreal then you start to realize how much better the Leafs would have matched up against the Habs.

Gamebreakers: Dressed in black and yellow, the guy who all Leafs fans will hate by the end of

not the nose Dion, fuck

not the nose Dion, fuck

the series is Brad Marchand.  He did it when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup against the Canucks, and he’s gonna do it again in the first round against the Leafs.  He is an agitator, and the Leafs cannot start taking penalties because of this huge-nosed prick, or else they can kiss the season good-bye.

The Leafs have their own little pest that draws tons of penalties, too.  Nazem “The Dream” Kadri will look to relish his first opportunity at playoff hockey by getting under the skin of the Bruins and provide some lethal secondary scoring.  The big matchup, after the Chara versus the world one, will be Kadri and Marchand.  We saw it with Gallagher and we’ll see it again with Marchand.  The two little weasels will be at each-others throats like Homer on Bart.


Ouch.

Prediction: This series is going to be brutal and whoever comes out of it is will be battered and bruised.  Chara and the Bruins will end up being too tough for the Leafs, and the B’s will take it in seven.