When the horn sounded at the end of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders fans rejoiced as their home squad defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles skaters removed their jerseys and signed them for the lucky fans who won them as a prize at the end of the game.
Typically, this is a moment at the end of the Islanders season filled with "better luck next year's" and "thanks for supporting us as we rebuild our team." But instead, this time, fans were salivating for more as the Islanders continued to tighten their grasp on their first playoff berth in six years.
"Everyone's been telling me how loud this arena can be," said Matt Martin...
For those that grew up during the great cup runs in the 80's and the "epic" playoff battles that took place in the 90's, fans already know how loud the Nassau Coliseum can get.
But for fans like myself, who were either not born or old enough to appreciate what was taking place on the ice in Long Island at that time, there is only the first round elimination series against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2002 that truly proves merit to the Coliseum's nickname, the "Madhouse off the Meadowbrook."
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)
Playing the latter of a grueling back-to-back, the Flyers overcame a late surge by a good Toronto Maple Leafs team, holding on to win 5-3 Thursday night. It was their fourth straight win and earned them two huge points in the standings.
Sean Couturier had a fantastic game. He was all over the ice, notching a pair of assists and seemingly looked like he was always out there despite playing just over 13 minutes.
(Pictured: Kimmo Timonen and Sean Couturier take out Mikhail Grabovski in the 2nd period. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
Toronto Maple Leafs (15-9-0) at Boston Bruins (14-3-3)
Tuesday night in Washington, yeah that really happened...the Bruins came out firing on all cylinders, clearly upset about losing to life long rivals Montreal. The first period of the Caps game was as exciting for a Bruins fan as it gets. After the officials rewarded Brad Marchand with a penalty shot for Alex Ovechkin's hooking on a breakaway, the Honey Badger went five-hole on Braden Holtby and put the B's up 1-0. Marchand leads the Bruins with 12 goals so far this season.
Not long after, Milan Lucic showed his worth by sticking with the puck, sending it to Zdeno Chara, who took a shot on net, and after hitti...
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.
Six times the Flyers attempted to get their record back to .500 and six times they have failed so far this season.
At 9-11-1, you have to start to wonder why that has been the case. It happened again last night when the Flyers dropped a home game 4-2 to the Maple Leafs, playing flat for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Is it mental? Are they snake-bitten? Or is this all just one big coincidence? Regardless, the Flyers need to earn every point they can get their hands on because this is a shortened season and every point matters just a little bit more if a team wants to make the playoffs.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov cannot stop a rebound shot by Mikhail Grabovski in the third period. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
The last man on the ice for warm ups was James van Riemsdyk.
Fans were decked in orange and black as well as blue and white no. 21 jerseys all through the Wells Fargo Center before the Flyers 4-2 loss on Monday to Toronto. Decorated with signs, there were a handful of people awaiting the return of the man they call "JvR."
So when the Toronto Maple Leafs left winger finally walked down the visitor's tunnel for the first time and hopped onto the ice, he received some scattered applause from the fans who were ready to acknowledge the returning young star.
(Pictured: James van Riemsdyk shoots on goal against his former team. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)