Pittsburgh: The Penguins managed to secure victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets by using their depth, their defense, and strong play on the puck. The Penguins had a tough time getting everything going against the very tight checking Blue Jackets, but still managed to control the puck at a 60% corsi and shake up the lines enough to avoid the preferred match ups of Columbus.
All of this plays in well against the Rangers. Pittsburgh will not have to focus exclusively on the forward match ups, mostly because New York’s shut down play Boyle has not had great success against Crosby. Pittsburgh has been able to use five different lines, comprised mostly of t...
Recently several news outlets reported that Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow would retain the team’s first round pick in the upcoming June draft, currently is slotted fifth overall (also known as the “New York Islander Honorary Slot”). In case you hibernated from November until March (or have done your best to suppress the disappointment of another Islander season), the Islanders are required to send Buffalo a first round pick either this year or next as a result of its Thomas Vanek acquisition.
Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.
They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.
(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)
The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
Daniel Spevak is a writer for The Checking Line - Flyers Edition. This is a part of a multi-part series breaking down the potential finalists for the NHL's annual awards.
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to be the most valuable each season.
While a lot of players fit the bill of being good and are capable of putting up statistics, only a handful fit the description of being the most valuable to their respective teams. Here are the players that have been keys to their club’s success.
Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Kessel has had quite the season. He’s tied for fifth in the league with 80 points, and has a career-hi...
Below is a collection of names that will either be free agents or that could be in play via the trade market. One item to note is that with many of these names, there is a reason why they are available. That is not to say they are bad or wouldn’t represent an upgrade over the current three-headed monster the Islanders have used this year (for a laugh, check out the league’s goalie leaders and scroll to the bottom of the list).
As another Islander season draws closer to an ending, it’s never too early to start thinking about the future (it’s what we do best on Long Island). Free agency will come and go and big-ticket names will be shuffled around in trades. And the one name hanging out there that appears ripe for the taking, Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, just so happens to make a heck of a lot of sense for the team in Nassau.