The New York Islanders went into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with the hopes of ending a four-game losing streak before heading back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night for their Valentine's Day re-match with the New York Rangers. Despite ending their scoreless power play streak, the Islanders would add another tally to the loss column with a 6-4 defeat on home ice.
Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:48 into the hockey game with assists coming from Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic. But former Islanders Tim Wallace would tie the game a little over mid-way through the first period, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms in a draw.
The middle frame would prove to be a wild one. John Tavares scored the Isles second power play goal after jumping on a rebound in front. Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky earned the helpers. But Canes forward Jeff Skinner would knot it up at two less than 30 seconds later with a snap shot in the high slot that Rick DiPietro never saw.
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
The boys are back in town and sales will soon increase at Chipotles, Mr. Macs Canteen and dozens of restaurants in the area as the players prepare for the upcoming season.
It will not be long before locals can expect a Swedish flag flying outside a home rented by John Persson, Johan Sundstrom, David Ullstrom and Anders Nillson while larea chefs cringe as Ullstrom adds ketchup to the marinara sauce they spent hours preparing.
So the Islanders have made it to the semi-finals. Some probably doubted the team's ability to make it this far, especially when competing with some of the biggest stars in the league. But it comes down to these next few days to see whether or not they will be competing in the final round.
That is, of course, for the cover of EA Sports' NHL 2013. John Tavares so far has eliminated Jordan Eberle in the first round and Pavel Datsyuk in the second round. Currently Tavares is facing off against Pekka Rinne, the starting goaltender for the Nashville Predators. Rinne might be tough for JT to beat, considering he received more votes than New York Rangers goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.
The Islanders start on a 3 game road trip and look to continue their 2 game winning streak. The first stop on the trip is visiting the last place in the Eastern Conference Hurricanes. This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. The two teams are currently tied at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the Islanders will look to change that with a win.
The lines from the Islanders practice Sunday stayed the same from the game against the Oilers. They were:
One of the bigger stories for this road trip is that Rick DiPietro will be making the trip as a 3rd goalie. There hasn’t been a report yet on whether or not he will play or dress during the trip. DiPietro has been out with a groin injury since December 3rd. Andres Nilsson is still currently with the team on loan from Bridgeport and is expected to dress with the Islanders until DiPietro is ready to play. DiPietro has had his struggles this season before the injury so hopfully he has had enough time to heal from the injury and also work on his game. The other news coming out of Islanders practice Sunday was that Micheal Haley was returned to Bridgeport. With the team starting to get healthier he was no longer needed.
Coming into tonight’s head-to-head with the Hurricanes, the Montreal Canadiens hadn’t put two of anything together since the Western road trip that saw them beat the Coyotes and Predators two weeks ago. And it stopped there.
In the first period of this game, a significant portion of Habs’ fans had their eyes on the Bruins/Sabres rematch, and it was difficult to blame them. Jiri Tlusty opened the scoring within the first minute of the game and Anthony Stewart made it 2-0 for the Hurricanes at the 6-minute mark. For the remainder of the opening frame, the Can...
Three up, and three down. If the Carolina Hurricanes had any hopes of a fast and focused start to this new season – like any fresh-faced, clean-slate squad should when the first puck of the year drops – plans have gone awry in a hurry. They opened the year with back to back games against their most talented division foes and left with only one point in their pocket.
After being dominated by Tampa Bay on Friday’s Opening Night in Raleigh, especially during the last two periods, to a tune of 5-1, the Canes needed a last-second empty-net surge to earn an OT point Saturday before being dismissed by a Mike Green power play goal in Was...