The New York Islanders are not the same team that lumbered through the first half of the season, wondering who would score, forcing Josh Bailey into prominent roles, and if Lane Lambert was the right coach for the job. The Islanders are ramping up at the right time of year and dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs at UBS Arena Wednesday. You need to watch (and watch again) Ilya Sorokin’s diving stick save.
Also in the mix today, the Flyers helped the Islanders by beating the Panther. Honoring Alex Ovechkin for passing Gordie Howe, but the Capitals lost. They’re toast. Jason Bakula looks at the top NCAA free agents, and the Calgary Flames are hanging in the Western Conference playoff race.
As of Wednesday morning, PlayoffStatus.com reports the Islanders have an 84% chance of making the playoffs. Who would have predicted that a week ago when the Pittsburgh Penguins had the spot and a couple of games in hand?
New York Islanders:
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Sportsnet: The Maple Leafs unraveled. The Islanders surged. It was a rocking night at UBS, and the Islanders won again.
TSN: A wicked good save by Ilya Sorokin. Almost silly, and he dove to his right to steal a goal from Erik Gustafsson. Watch.
Florida Hockey Now: Losing to lowly Philadelphia?! Yep. The Panthers wasted a good chance to keep up with the Islanders but also put some distance between themselves and Pittsburgh. As George Richards writes, the Florida Panthers blew a tire.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins’ blue line is battered. They had two emergency recalls in their 2-1 loss to Ottawa on Monday, but Jeff Petry is skating again. The Pittsburgh Penguins still have hope.
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
NY Post: The Hurricanes beat the Rangers in a Metro showdown, but Larry Brooks says to relax. No biggie.
Washington Hockey Now: The Capitals lost a crazy OT game to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s the news. The fun part was honoring Alex Ovechkin for passing Gordie Howe.
After two decades of battle, respect for Ovechkin. I’m still not sure I’m prepared to watch him pass Gretzky.
Calgary Hockey Now: The wild ride at the Saddledome is ongoing, but Calgary is hanging in there. The Flames beat Anaheim and are hanging with the Winnipeg Jets in the wild-card race. The Calgary Flames roller coaster.
Colorado Hockey Now: The defending Stanley Cup champs put a ring on it. They signed their coach, Jared Bednar, to a new contract. Last year at this time, he was in trouble if they didn’t win a few playoff series. This year, he’s getting paid. Colorado Avalanche news.
Vegas Hockey Now: Jonathan Quick is resurgent in Vegas. With yet another win, Quick passed the Beezer, John Vanbiesbrouck to become the second all-time winningest American goalie.