The Islanders will kick off 4-game home stand tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators for the third and final time this season. After a difficult 3-1 loss to the Sens back in February, the Isles took the most recent matchup with a pair of stellar shootout goals by the likes of Frans Nielsen and John Tavares.
So far this month, the Isles are 5-1-1, which has currently placed them 3 points out of the 8th and last playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have also improved on their dreadful home record, going 3-0-2 in their last 5 games at the Nassau Coliseum.
It took a dramatic finish, but the New York Islanders finally won a game on home ice during a Sunday matinee game, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the shootout.
The Islanders got on the board early in the game when Brad Boyes scored his fifth of the year, beating Robin Lehner glove side under the crossbar. The play started when Matt Moulson received a pass from Mark Streit at the Senators blue line and fed Boyes the puck as he was flying up the slot.
Not long after Boyes' goal, Matt Martin was found banging bodies all over the ice. In fact Martin had 6 hits in just over 3 minutes of play during the first period. Senators enforcer Chris Neil took exception to Martin's physical play and challenged him to a fight, but Martin ignored his request and continued to take out Senators along the wall.
He finished with 11 hits on the night. Coming into the game, Martin was just one shy of tying Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott for the league lead of 94 hits.
The Flyers and Senators made some noise outside of the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.
The big hits and the fights got the crowd vocally active in the Flyers 2-1 win over the Senators, and it will get the NHL's head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan vocally involved sometime in the next couple days.
The highlight of the extracurricular activities came midway through the first period. Flyers winger Harry Zolnierczyk came flying across the ice to deliver a massive hit on Ottawa's Mike Lundin.
Zolnierczyk left his feet to deliver the hit, driving his shoulder into the head of Lundin. Lundin was knocked out of the game due to the hit, and Zolnierczyk got a five-minute major for charging and a 10-minute game misconduct.
(Pictured: Harry Zolnierczyk lays out Mike Lundin as Zac Rinaldo looks on. AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Major penalties, desperation saves and a lot of bad blood were thrown into the pot Saturday afternoon.
Those were the ingredients in a violent 60 minutes between the Flyers and Senators. Ilya Bryzgalov won the goalie battle and he helped lead the Flyers to a huge 2-1 win over Ottawa Saturday afternoon to cap the home stand.
And most importantly, the Flyers got to .500 for the first time this season. After six previously failed attempts, their seventh try at evening up their record was successful.
(Pictured: Zac Rinaldo fights along the boards with Daniel Alfredsson. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
The biggest sports team in Canada's capital city will be looking to make a huge splash on Canada Day.
The Ottawa Senators will definitely be looking for help on defense. None of their defensive prospects look ready to make the jump to the NHL, so Senators general manager Bryan Murray will be looking to add help through free agency.
The team has not re-signed UFAs Matt Carkner, Matt Gilroy and Filip Kuba. It is likely the team will bring back Carkner, but not the others. It is curious that Kuba was not brought back considering how well he played alongside Norris-winner Erik Karlsson.
Murray likely has plans for a UFA he would like Karlsson to skate with, or he might b...
Not a lot of people expected the Ottawa Senators to be one of only two Canadian teams that managed to make the playoffs this season. In fact, in the "normal" NHL universe, the Canadiens and Sens would probably be in each others positions. The Sens started the season with people assuming they were at the beginning of a rebuild, with GM Bryan Murray half-blowing things up the prior off-season. But then something happened. The Sens top players started playing like... well... top players. Alfredsson was on his game as rumors of retirement grew bigger and bigger. Jason Spezza became a dominant center once again. And the...
When it rains, it pours; that has been the mantra of the New York Islanders this weekend. Yesterday the Isles let up six goals in a loss to the Boston Bruins that mathematically eliminated themselves from playoff contention. Today, they continued their struggling ways in a 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, who were without both Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.
"It was pretty horrible on our part. They were missing two of their top players and we couldn't take advantage of it. The way we played, we didn't deserve to win, that's for sure," said Islanders captain Mark Streit after the game. He would be the only Islander to be credited with a goal tonight with a John Tavares pass going off of his skate and behind Senators net-minder Craig Anderson.
The Islanders look to build off their win from earlier in the week and start a second half playoff push with a game against Ottawa tomorrow night. The Islanders are currently riding a hot streak getting 5 out of a possible 6 points in the last 3 games. This has the Islanders only 9 points out of playoff spot with plenty of time left in the season.
A couple of the sparks in the Islanders last win were the Bridgeport call ups of Kevin Poulin and Rhett Rakhshani. Poulin made his contribution playing a great game between the pipes, which showed many fans why he is considered the goaltender of the future. Rakhshani was a great move in my eyes as he was a spark plug on a line with Matt Martin and Josh Bailey. The whole game the line was buzzing around the ice and creating chances. Hopefully they will get another chance in Ottawa to keep showing that they are improving their chances and create more secondary scoring which is what this team needs.