This is the first time in five years that the Flyers are on the outside looking in. Pretty unfamiliar position for us Flyers writers as well. On the other hand, this is pretty interesting. There are now 16 teams to choose from to get behind and root for these next two months. The TCL Flyers staff will fill you in on those 16 teams and tell you why you should pick them.
The Islanders are just slightly past the quarter mark of the season after playing their 13th game of the year last night against the New York Rangers. They skated to a 4-3 shootout victory to give them a 5-7-1 record.
With 11 points, the Islanders sit 12th in the Eastern Conference; four points out of the eighth placed Rangers and last in the Atlantic Division (Photo Credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
Five of the Islanders top-six forwards have been producing from the start of the year. John Tavares has 16 points in 13 games, trailed by Matt Moulson with 13 and Brad Boyes with 10. Frans Nielsen has quietly put up nine points in the games that have been played, while Michael Grabner has seven.
The NHL is still in the midst of a lockout due to a CBA dispute between the NHL and the NHLPA. There have been rumors that a season could start around the beginning of December, TCL's Shane Blackburn provides a preview of the Eastern Conference should the lockout end. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Eastern Conference FinalNew York Rangers ( 1 ) vs. New Jersey Devils ( 6 ) It's always fun when rivals meet in the playoffs. Penguins vs. Flyers. Habs vs. Bruins. Canucks vs. Blackhawks. Bad blood makes for good hockey, and more importantly, good television. Even better when it's late in the playoffs, like this year's Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. The best word to describe the feelings between these two teams is probably "bad blood", but then again that word pretty much sums up any match-up in the Atlantic Division. There's a lot at play here. Location. Histo...
The Islanders' season may be done but the hockey season remains, and as a die hard hockey fan I will milk this season for all that it has. The playoff seedings this season came down to the last weeks, days, and games of the season moving teams all around the standings some for the better (Phoenix Coyotes) and some for the worse (Buffalo Sabres). The final seedings were decided and the 2011-12 playoff matchups were set. (Photo Credit: Ice Insiders, Ryan Boyd)
The Eastern Conference matchups are as follows the New York Rangers (1) vs. the Ottawa Senators (, the Boston Bruins (2) vs. the Washington Capitals (7), the Florida Panthers (3) vs. the New Jersey Devils (6) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. the Philadelphia Flyers (5). So far three of the four series are tied at one game a piece and the game that is not tied is quite possibly the bigges surprise in the Easern Conference.
In their only meeting of the regular season this year the Blackhawks will take on the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have not had the kind of year that is normal for them and have struggled along with their superstar Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin still is leading him team in points with 53 29 goals and 24 assists.
The Capitals (36-29-6) are currently hanging onto eighth place in the east with the Winnipeg Jets breathing down their necks in the ninth spot only just two points behind. The Capitals also are coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Jets. So the Capitals come into this game desperately wanting to win and collect points to stay ahead in last playoff spot.
The Islanders, who have been struggling more than usual as of late, will play host tonight for their sixth and final meeting of the season with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders go into tonight's game on a four game skid, blowing leads in the three most recent losses, the Flyers however come to Long Island with a 6-1 record in March, the first of those wins came against the Islanders on March 1st. Philadelphia leads the season series 3-2, including wins in both previous trips to the Coliseum. (Photo Credit: CSN Philly/Sarah Baicker)
The Islanders are 11 points out of eighth place with only twelve games left to play meaning that a playoff bid is looking highly improbable for the young squad. They lack a key component to being a playoff caliber team, consistency. That was evident in their last three losses, they had the lead in all three games and only managed two points, losing once in overtime and once in a shootout.
The stage was set for an emotional carry over into Saturday morning regardless of the outcome of Friday night's Islanders/Rangers game; a win for the Isles against their biggest rival and top team in the Eastern Conference would keep their playoff hopes alive, but a loss to their number one foe would have been a crushing blow to their confidence and chances.
Fortunately, the orange and blue would come on top with a 4-3 shootout victory with Matt Moulson netting the finally tally in the fourth round.
Tensions were high at the start of the game and Matt Martin decided to ease things up a bit by fighting Stu Bickel just over two minutes into the game. Both got their licks in before Martin swung and missed, falling to the ice to end the fight early. A fair draw would set the tone for how evenly the game would be played.
The New York Islanders went from potential playoff contenders to looking towards next season within 48 hours earlier this week.
Having the best team in the Eastern Conference coming into your building after being shutout in their last game, isn’t what the doctor ordered.
After two terrible performances against Ottawa and Buffalo on Monday and Tuesday, the Islanders welcome in their cross-river rivals the New York Rangers on Friday Night.
The Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference with 81 points, 7 points ahead of both New Jersey and Boston. They travel to Long Island after being blanked by the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Tuesday night. Henrik Lundqvist continued his stellar play making 29 saves in the losing effort. After an 8-1-1 stretch, the Rangers have lost two of their last three games.
Ah New York, New York “I'm gonna make a brand new start of it In old New York. If I can make it there, I'd make it anywhere Come on, come through, New York, New York.” – Kander/Ebb lyrics
And make it there the Hawks certainly did. This game had everything, Two Original Six teams meeting who don’t normally see each other, historic Madison Square Garden and ey New Yawkers in the stands. If that was not enough to stir the blood, you had the classic offence versus defense and two teams on different trajectories.
I was not sure what to expect in this one except the Hawks had nothing to lose. What I was pleasantly surpris...