The good news was doubled Monday when the New York Islanders pulled away from the New Jersey Devils at UBS Arena while the Ottawa Senators slammed the Florida Panthers. The Islanders now have a somewhat comfy six-point lead on the Panthers, the first team out of the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov shrugged off a Russian report that he requested a trade out of Washington, though the NHL trade rumors have only begun to swirl in the Capital. The Pittsburgh Penguins still control their fate and made some changes at practice, while the Winnipeg Jets core might be disassembled after this season.
Ilya Sorokin. He was brilliant in the third period, even as the Islanders were on their heels and gasping for breath. It seems both teams’ strengths and weaknesses were on display should they meet in Round One. The Devils are so fast, but they lack a bit of grit between the dots. They let Sorokin see too many shots. And the Islanders showed the ability to finish, though they probably shouldn’t rely on Kyle Palmieri to post three points with breakaway chances too often.
New York Islanders
NYI Hockey Now: Hello, Palmieri. He played the game of his season, and the Devils couldn’t crack Sorokin. The Islanders win 5-1.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins would have to win both games in hand on the Islanders to pass them, and coach Mike Sullivan is still trying to find his optimal line combinations. Jeff Petry returned to their practice while Sullivan juggled the Penguins’ lines.
One story that fits both the Penguins and the Islanders is our colleague Shelly Anderson asked Sidney Crosby and others if it is better to cruise into the playoffs or fight to get there. It’s a pretty good read — Penguins battling.
Florida Hockey Now: Faceplant. The Panthers caught the Penguins and Islanders but couldn’t hang with them. Ottawa drilled them 5-2 Monday. The Florida Panthers’ playoff hopes are fading.
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
Nova Caps: A Russian report stirred the coming summer NHL trade rumors. Elliotte Friedman reported the Capitals and Kuznetsov seem headed for divorce, too. But Kuznetsov denied he’s asked for a trade and tried to shrug them off Monday.
Vegas Hockey Now: My favorite story of the day. I love Letterkenny and Shoresy on Hulu. Those shows aren’t for the faint of heart, but they are funny. A great grab by Owen Krepps — Keegan Kolesar is helping with the dialogue and plot lines of Shoresy on Hulu. Vegas Golden Knights story.
Your mum still owes me some KFC…
32 Thoughts Podcast: This will also cue the NHL trade rumors. Elliotte and Marek discussed the possible end of the Winnipeg Jets core this summer.
This includes some pretty big names — All of the players of the 2018 Team Canada world juniors are banned from Team Canada squads until the investigation into sexual misconduct (or assault) is finished.
Boston Hockey Now: Potential Islanders Round One opponent, the Bruins have magic this season. Jake Debrusk added a new wrinkle to his shootout routine: a wink. Yep. That’s why we love Jake DeBrusk.