Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)
Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The injury-ravaged Islanders have won two and lost two coming out of their league-mandated bye week, but let's be honest with each other here. They only played one solid game -- a 7-2 victory at Madison Square Garden over the Rangers.

They're going to need to be much better than a .500 hockey team if they're to crawl out of an 8-13-2 funk that has them at 53 percent of possible points -- slightly ahead of the 2013-14 team that finished 34-37-11 and out of the playoffs. As a reference point, last year's team that finished shy of the postseason by one point finished at 57 percent of possible points.

So, while the team licks its wounds, whether it be Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Calvin de Haan, Nikolay Kulemin, Andrew Ladd, or Shane Prince, they need to figure out, once and for all, what they are doing, or attempting to do, in the defensive zone to even realistically start thinking about having a shot at Lord Stanley in April.

The goaltending has been sub-standard, to say the least, not making the saves they need to make when the team needs them the most. Jaroslav Halak sports a .905 save percentage while backup Thomas Greiss sits at .886. League average this year is .913. The two have a combined goals against average of 3.51 as the defense in front of them has crumbled time and time again, leading to high-danger scoring chances seemingly on every opponent shift.

There aren't many, if any, teams around the league who can make due with 67 percent of their defense having their first full-time crack at the big show. With youngsters Adam Pelech (23), Scott Mayfield (25), Ryan Pulock (23) and Sebastian Aho (21), that's exactly what the Islanders are trying to do. And, currently, it's looking to be a gross miscalculation yet again by general manager Garth Snow to not have replaced veteran Travis Hamonic after his offseason trade to Calgary.



The reality is, for the past 23 games, the Islanders are a team that cannot win consistently without scoring four or more goals, putting tremendous pressure on an offense that is the sole reason the team is still within striking distance of a wild-card spot to begin with. The 161 goals they have scored is second in the NHL to the Lightning, while captain John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and Anders Lee are on pace for career seasons, Mathew Barzal is an exciting Calder Trophy candidate, and Jordan Eberle is producing once again like he did for Edmonton.

That will all go for naught if the team doesn't find a way to reduce its league-leading 173 goals against, 30th ranked .897 save percentage and 30th ranked 73.3 percent penalty kill. In fact, looking over the past 20 games, the numbers get even uglier. Only six times have they allowed less than four goals -- a goals against average of 4.05 -- and only four times have they outshot their opponent, allowing an average of 37 shots per game (43 per game if you shorten the time period over their last six games).

There are no top-four defenseman available, and no, I don't believe Cody Franson would have been much help. For me, the big loss was letting Columbus take Jussi Jokinen off waivers, which a New York claim would have prevented. He could have slipped nicely into a third-line, penalty killing role and added plenty of experience to boot.

With the 'summer of John' looming, can the Islanders, specifically Snow, afford to sit back and be silent? Does he think that the terrible defensive results of the past four weeks are the result of injuries and injuries only? Go back to game one and it seems the problem has been there all along, whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

Notes

The Islanders placed Casey Cizikas on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to January 13, and recalled Ross Johnston. Joshua Ho-Sang continues to wallow in Bridgeport, still apparently not getting whatever message the Islanders are sending, and the rough, linebacker shaped winger comes up to try and give New York a physical presence, like Matt Martin did in his heyday. I've noted prior that I felt the team was playing 'soft' the past month, so we'll see what kind of energy Johnston (113 PIM in 37 games) can inject into the lineup.

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin Pryor, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Feb 14, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; The New York Islanders celebrate after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Feb 14, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; The New York Islanders celebrate after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

Casey Cizikas was named the first star of the game after netting two goal on the Islanders' road to a 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 7:06 NYI Casey Cizikas; Assists: Cal Clutterbuck, Thomas Greiss
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets
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 (Kevin Hoffman)
(Kevin Hoffman)

The Islanders were riding a three-game winning streak heading into Buffalo, but they were outdone by Sabres Tuesday night, 3-1. Johan Larsson scored with 2:25 remaining to ice it. >> Box score


First period:

  • 16:25 BUF Jeff Skinner; Assists: Jack Eichel
  • 19:37 NYI Casey Cizikas; Assists: Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck
Tags: Buffalo Sabres
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Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

The New York Islanders have followed up one of their hottest months in years with an almost identical performance. But the Buffalo Sabres have spent the last two months undoing the margin for error they built up during a franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak.

Two teams on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference playoff race will face each other Tuesday night, when the Sabres host the Islanders.

Both teams were off Monday after playing Sunday, when the Islanders earned their third straight win by edging the visiting Minnesota Wild, 2-1, and the host Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres
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New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Devon Toews scored the tie-breaking power-play goal early in the second period as the Islanders beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 14:05 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov

Second period:

  • 0:38 MIN Mikael Granlund (power play); Assists: Jason Zucker, Zach Parise
  • 2:01 NYI Devon Toews (power play); Assists: Ryan Pulock, Josh Bailey
Tags: Minnesota Wild
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New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

The Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders were separated by fewer than 20 miles Saturday afternoon, when the Wild served notice they are not ready to fall out of the Western Conference postseason race.

Meanwhile, the Islanders offered another reminder they need to be taken seriously as a legitimate contender to make a deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference.

The Wild and Islanders will look to build on Saturday's momentum on Sunday afternoon, when New York hosts Minnesota at Barclays Center.

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Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Ryan Pulock's second goal of the game sent the Islanders home with a win, as New York beat the Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. >> Box score


First period:

  • 10:19 COL Carl Soderberg; Assists: Erik Johnson, Matt Nieto
Tags: Colorado Avalanche, Josh Bailey, Ryan Pulock
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Jan 12, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) shoots against New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) in front of defenseman Brady Skjei (76) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Jan 12, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) shoots against New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) in front of defenseman Brady Skjei (76) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off their fifth straight loss, this time to the defending champion Washington Capitals on Thursday. Now they get to face the man who led Washington to the elusive Stanley Cup last year when they visit the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

Barry Trotz stunned some when three days after the Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights to win the title he was hired by the Islanders to be their head coach. It looks like New York made a shrewd move. The Islanders (31-16-6) sit atop the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of Washington and winners of seven of their last 10.

 

Tags: Colorado Avalanche
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Josh Bailey scored the game winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout as the New York Islanders capped a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at Prudential Center with a four-game season series sweep. >> Box score


First period:

  • 5:32 NJD Kevin Rooney; Assists: Kurtis Gabriel, Jesper Bratt
  • 13:43 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Ryan Pulock, Brock Nelson
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Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The New York Islanders are surprisingly sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, ahead of the defending Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins in the hotly contested division.

Not only are they in a good perch, the Islanders (30-16-6, 66 points) have lost one game in regulation in their last nine outings (6-1-2).

So, you'd think they'd be feeling good about themselves these days. Guess again. >> Read More

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Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) scores a goal on New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) scores a goal on New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

A Bruins goal at 6:34 of the third period broke a 1-1 deadlock before an empty-netter sealed the 3-1 loss for the Islanders. >> Box score


First period:

  • N/A

Second period:

  • 2:32 BOS Patrice Bergeron; Assists: David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand
  • 16:40 NYI Jordan Eberle (Power Play); Assists: Mat Barzal, Brock Nelson
Tags: Boston Bruins
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Nov 29, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) handles the puck against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports (Paul Rutherford)
Nov 29, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) handles the puck against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports (Paul Rutherford)

Few could have imagined last summer that a February meeting between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins could serve as a potential playoff preview. But the two teams may be sizing each other up for postseason series on Tuesday night, when the Islanders visit the Bruins.

Both teams ended losing streaks in their most recent games. The Islanders snapped a two-game skid by coming back from a third-period deficit to beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Saturday night. The Bruins broke a three-game drought Sunday when David Krejci scored the only goal in the second period of a 1-0 win over the host Washington Capitals.

Tags: Boston Bruins
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New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings with teammates during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings with teammates during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders scored three unanswered goals in the final 6:14 of the third period as they beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum. >> Box score


Third period:

  • 13:15 LA Ilya Kovalchuk; Assists: Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar
  • 13:46 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Ryan Pulock, Josh Bailey
  • 17:37 NYI Michael Dal Colle; Assists: Ryan Pulock, Leo Komarov
  • 18:29 NYI Brock Nelson (ENG); Assists: Ryan Pulock, Cal Clutterbuck
Tags: Los Angeles Kings
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It was a battle between goalies on Friday night at the Coliseum, as the Islanders fell to the Lightning 1-0 in a shootout. >> Box score

Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning
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Nov 8, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 8, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

By the time faceoff arrives Friday night, the New York Islanders will have waited nearly 10 days to play a hockey game. The Tampa Bay Lighting will have waited even longer for a rare chance at revenge.

The two division leaders in the Eastern Conference are scheduled to meet Friday night, when the Islanders return from the All-Star Break and their subsequent bye week by hosting the Lightning at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders have been off since Jan. 22, when they went into the break with a 3-2 shootout loss to the host Chicago Blackhawks. The visiting Lightning returned to action Wednesday, when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2.

Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning
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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Henrik Lundqvist was not the only New York area athlete to impress at the NHL All-Star Game on Saturday. 

Islanders' Mathew Barzal scored two goals and finished the day with four assists while Devils' Kyle Palmieri also had a goal and an assist in the two games they both played for Team Metropolitan, which won the 3-on-3 style tournament with a 10-5 victory over the Central. 

Barzal and Palmieri both scored in the first period of the NHL All-Star Game final, with Barzal setting the tone with a wrister 22 seconds into the game. 

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Home is where the Islanders are? 00:00:53
The first question at Gary Bettman?s press conference was about the Islanders and their arena for potential playoff games.

The Islanders have turned their franchise around exactly the way they wanted to this season. From ownership to coaching to renewed success on the ice, the Isles went into the All-Star breakare sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division at 29-15-5 with playoff hopes in sight. 

But that's the big question: Where will the Islanders play their home playoff games?

During the NHL All-Star press conference, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the situation, saying the league would ultimately have the final say on where New York will play.

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Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares battles for the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares battles for the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

John Tavares controversially left the Islanders in the offseason to sign a seven-year, $77 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his hometown team.

But at the All-Star break, his Maple Leafs trail the Islanders in the Eastern Conference standings by one point.

"They're having a tremendous season. Obviously, it's a complete 180 on the defensive side," Tavares said, according to Newsday's Mark Herrmann. "Goaltending has been a big part of that, but just not giving up a whole lot defensively and it's leading to a lot of success, a lot of wins."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Toronto Maple Leafs
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Jan 22, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) tries to score against the New York Islanders during the second period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Jan 22, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) tries to score against the New York Islanders during the second period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Islanders were unable to hold onto two separate one-goal leads as they fall to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, 3-2, to end a five-game winning streak. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:19 NYI Valtteri Filppula
Tags: Chicago Blackhawks, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck celebrates the second of his two first period goals against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck celebrates the second of his two first period goals against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Cal Clutterbuck scored two goals in the first period to lead the Islanders to a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at Nassau Coliseum. >> Box score


First period:

  • 4:50 NYI Cal Clutterbuck (power play); Assists: Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier
  • 9:56 NYI Cal Clutterbuck; Assist: Adam Pelech
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Cal Clutterbuck
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

The New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks were traveling the most dissimilar paths in the NHL for most of the last month. But the two teams will both carry winning streaks into action Sunday afternoon, when the Islanders host the Ducks at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.

The Islanders were off Saturday after earning their fourth straight win Friday night, a 2-0 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals. The Ducks will be completing a back-to-back Eastern Conference swing after edging the host New Jersey Devils, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon.

The win Friday was the 14th in the last 17 games dating back to Dec. 15 for the Islanders, who at least momentarily moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division by virtue of beating the Capitals. New York, which hasn't won a division title since the 1987-88 season, has been in first place this late in a season just twice since the 1990-91 campaign.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

The Islanders had a slow start after two periods with no score, then jumped ahead on Josh Bailey's 11th goal of the season to defeat the Capitals 2-0 at Capital One Arena on Friday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • N/A
Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Washington Capitals
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The Islanders jumped to an early lead and didn't look back, defeating the Devils 4-1 at The Coliseum on Thursday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 5:48 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Nick Leddy, Jordan Eberle
  • 9:19 NYI Michael Dal Colle; Assists: Scott Mayfield, Leo Komarov
  • 15:12 NYI Jordan Eberle (Power Play); Assists: Nick Leddy, Brock Nelson
Tags: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey
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Jan 15, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) is congratulated by center Mathew Barzal (13) after scoring the game winning goal against the St. Louis Blues during overtime at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 15, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) is congratulated by center Mathew Barzal (13) after scoring the game winning goal against the St. Louis Blues during overtime at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Islanders picked up a big two points with an overtime 2-1 win over the Blues on Tuesday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 8:43 NYI Jordan Eberle; Assists: Anders Lee
Tags: St. Louis Blues
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New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Rookie Devon Toews was among three different Islanders to score in the first period en route to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 1:21 NYI Brock Nelson (power play); Assists: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal
  • 4:27 NYI Cal Clutterbuck; Assists: Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas
  • 4:43 NYI Devon Toews
Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning
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Dec 28, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his go-ahead goal against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 28, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his go-ahead goal against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

"What a difference a year makes."

The old adage seemingly applies to the New York Islanders' turnaround this season.

The Islanders play host to the scorching hot Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday night as both Eastern Conference teams comes off games the day before.

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Jan 12, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) shoots against New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) in front of defenseman Brady Skjei (76) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Jan 12, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) shoots against New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) in front of defenseman Brady Skjei (76) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Rangers finally broke their five-game slump on Saturday, edging the Islanders at the Barclays Center, 2-1, courtesy of a go-ahead goal from Mats Zuccarello 14:55 into the final period and 24 saves out of goaltender Alexander Georgiev. >> Box score


First period:

  • N/A
Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Mats Zuccarello
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Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

When the New York Islanders and New York Rangers split a pair of high-scoring games in November, it appeared both teams might stay in contention for postseason spots in the Eastern Conference.

Nearly two months later, the Islanders are ascending while the Rangers are dealing with a significant tailspin and falling way behind in the playoff race.

On Saturday afternoon, the teams will get together for the last time this season and for the last time at Brooklyn's Barclays Center when then Rangers visit the Islanders in the back end of a home-and-home set. >> Read more

Tags: Chris Kreider, Josh Bailey
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Isles beat Rangers 4-3 00:01:13
The Islanders have been on a hot streak, while the Rangers are faltering. Tonight proved no different as the Isles won 4-3.

Josh Bailey buried the game-winner with less than two minutes left in a 4-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 1:38 NYR Ryan Strome (Power Play); Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Filip Chytil
  • 2:31 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Johnny Boychuk
  • 8:51 NYI Jordan Eberle (Power Play); Assists: Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal
Tags: Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

A battle against your cross-town rival is one way to snap out of a funk. Both the Islanders and Rangers need a victory Thursday night as the teams prepare to play against each other at Madison Square Garden in the front end of a home-and-home. 
 
The Rangers must find a way to prevent the ship from completely collapsing after an ugly four-game losing streak in which they were outscored 22-5 and Henrik Lundqvist was chased from the net twice.
 
The Islanders fell to the Hurricanes on Tuesday, snapping an impressive six-game winning streak highlighted by a dominant 4-0 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. 

Tags: Brock Nelson, Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Jordan Eberle, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mats Zuccarello, Valtteri Filppula
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Jan 5, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) is congratulated by right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and center Casey Cizikas (53) after scoring during the second period against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)
Jan 5, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) is congratulated by right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and center Casey Cizikas (53) after scoring during the second period against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)

The Islanders scored four straight goals, three of which in the third period, and held off the Blues late comeback effort to secure a 4-3 road victory.  Read more >>

First period

  • 4:11 STL Brayden Schenn; Assists: Jaden Schwartz, Jay Bouwmeester
  • 16:37 STL Zach Sanford; Assists: Vince Dunn, Tyler Bozak
Tags: Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, St. Louis Blues
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Dec 18, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) and left wing Anders Lee (27) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Dec 18, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) and left wing Anders Lee (27) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

As expected, the first meeting of the season between the St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders will pit a team with one of the worst records in the NHL against one vying for a playoff spot.

But the Blues and Islanders will be occupying different spots than most projected Saturday night, when St. Louis hosts New York.

Both teams are coming off home wins Thursday. The Blues beat the Washington Capitals 5-2, and the Islanders edged the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2 in overtime.

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New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates his game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews celebrates his game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders rookie defenseman Devon Toews scored his first-career NHL goal 1:48 into overtime to give New York a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.

"It's pretty special to get your first NHL goal in overtime," Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said, according to Newsday's Andrew Gross.

The 24-year-old Toews, a former fourth-round pick who had spent 130 games with AHL Bridgeport before making his debut on Dec. 23, took a shot from the right face-off circle that Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia initially stopped. But Toews picked up the rebound and shot the puck between Delia's legs for the winner.

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks, Mathew Barzal
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Jan 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) celebrates his game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) celebrates his game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders rookie D Devon Toews' first NHL goal was an overtime winner to lift New York over the Blackhawks, 3-2, at the Coliseum on Thursday night.  Read more >>

First period

  • 3:05 CHI Dominik Kahun; Assists: Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith
  • 6:47 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Anthony Beauvillier, Johnny Boychuk
Tags: Chicago Blackhawks
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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

Islanders young star C Mathew Barzal has been selected to represent his team in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. 

Barzal, who will play in his first career All-Star Game, has been the center of the Isles' success on the offensive end this season. He leads the team with 36 points, and has a team-high 26 assists as well.

This selection comes a few days after being named the Player of the Week in the NHL. He had six points with five goals and one assist last week that came on a hat-trick last Saturday against the Maple Leafs. 

The San Jose Sharks' SAP Center will be the location for the All-Star Game that will take place on January 26.

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 31, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) takes a shot on goal as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (4) looks to block it during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

The New York Islanders took care of business on the road against the Buffalo Sabres after grabbing a 3-1 win on Monday. Read more >>

First period

No goals scored

Tags: Brock Nelson, Nick Leddy, Buffalo Sabres
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Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov is called for hooking against New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang in the first period at American Airlines Center. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov is called for hooking against New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang in the first period at American Airlines Center. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

>> Box score


First period:

  • N/A

Second period:

  • 6:20 DAL Tyler Pitlick; Assists: Mattias Janmark, Jason Spezza
  • 14:10 NYI Casey Cizikas
Tags: Ottawa Senators
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Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov is called for hooking against New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang in the first period at American Airlines Center. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov is called for hooking against New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang in the first period at American Airlines Center. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders won for the fourth time in their last five games when they defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Sunday at American Airlines Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • N/A

Second period:

  • 6:20 DAL Tyler Pitlick; Assists: Mattias Janmark, Jason Spezza
  • 14:10 NYI Casey Cizikas
Tags: Dallas Stars
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Nov 23, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) skates with the puck in front of goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 23, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) skates with the puck in front of goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The Islanders bid farewell to their three-game winning streak after allowing three goals in the third period to the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-2 loss. >> Box score


First period:

  • 18:30 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Josh Bailey
  • 19:38 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Pulock

Second period:

  • 8:48 VGK Brandon Pirri (Power play); Assists: Nate Schmidt, Cody Eakin

Third period:

  • 6:22 VGK William Karlsson; Assists: Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt
  • 7:25 VGK Paul Stastny; Assists: Reilly Smith, Nick Holden
  • 1945 VGK Nate Schmidt (Empty net); Unassisted
Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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Dec 18, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) and left wing Anders Lee (27) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Dec 18, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) and left wing Anders Lee (27) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

The Islanders continued their winning ways out west with a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 9:14 PHO Mario Kempe; Assists: Alex Goligoski, Nick Cousins
  • 17:04 NYI Joshua Ho-Sang; Assists: Ryan Pulock, Valterri Filpulla

Second period:

  • 3:38 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Pulock
  • 8:29 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Josh Bailey
Tags: Arizona Coyotes, Brock Nelson
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New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle controls the puck behind the Colorado Avalanche net in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle controls the puck behind the Colorado Avalanche net in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders started their four-game West Coast road trip with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday at Pepsi Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 18:20 NYI Jordan Eberle; Assists: Brock Nelson, Anders Lee

Second period:

  • 2:07 NYI Johnny Boychuk (power play); Assists: Ryan Pulock, Josh Bailey
  • 6:45 COL Gabriel Landeskog (power play); Assists: Tyson Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon
  • 18:25 NYI Ander Lee (power play); Assists: Nick Leddy, Jordan Eberle
Tags: Anders Lee, Colorado Avalanche, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle
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Oct 24, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Florida Panthers defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich (55) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 24, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Florida Panthers defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich (55) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Hitting the road isn't normally seen as a good thing for NHL teams, but the New York Islanders are embracing their longest trip of the season to date.

New York (15-12-4) starts a four-game Western Conference swing Monday night at Colorado with a good attitude and with the hope of building momentum after a 4-3 shootout win over Detroit on Saturday night.

"I think it's kind of nice, get on the road, be together as a group, kind of get that bonding again," center Mathew Barzal told Newsday after the win over the Red Wings. "I get excited playing in front of other fans. I think we all do."

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Dec 15, 2018; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) scores on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) during shootouts at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 15, 2018; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) scores on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) during shootouts at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Mathew Barzal scored the game-tying goal and helped lead his time to victory with a goal during a shootout as the Islanders edged the Red Wings, 4-3, on Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. >> Box score

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Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK (AP) Tomas Nosek scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the surging Vegas Golden Knights beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson also scored to help the Golden Knights win for the 10th time in 13 games. Marc-Andre Fleury, making his 11th straight start, stopped 23 shots to take over the NHL victory lead with 18.

Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech scored for New York. The Islanders have lost six of eight (2-4-2). Robin Lehner finished with 14 saves to fall to 0-4-2 in his last seven appearances.

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Dec 4, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) skates the puck across the blue line with New York Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) and New York Islanders right wing Leo Komarov (47) against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 4, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) skates the puck across the blue line with New York Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) and New York Islanders right wing Leo Komarov (47) against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK -- On Wednesday night, the New York Islanders might begin to get an extended look at the goaltender they thought could serve as a No. 1 netminder this season.

And the Vegas Golden Knights might finally get re-acquainted with their biggest offseason addition.

Goalie Robin Lehner could receive a second straight start for the Islanders on Wednesday night, when they host the Golden Knights -- and possibly center Paul Stastny -- at Barclays Center.

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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby fight for the puck during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby fight for the puck during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders blew a 1-0 lead in the third period and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a five-round shootout on Monday at Nassau Coliseum. >> Box score


Shootout:

  • NYI Mathew Barzal: MISS
  • PIT Phil Kessel: GOAL
  • NYI Leo Komarov: MISS
  • PIT Sidney Crosby: MISS
  • NYI Josh Bailey: GOAL
  • PIT Evgeni Malkin: MISS
  • NYI Anthony Beauvillier: MISS
  • PIT Kris Letang: MISS
  • NYI Valtteri Filppula: MISS
  • PIT Jake Guentzel: GOAL
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Dec 8, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots as Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) defends during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Dec 8, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots as Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) defends during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

After allowing the first two goals of the game to the hometown Red Wings, the New York Islanders and goaltender Thomas Greiss (23 saves on 25 shots) locked in and buckled down defensively en route to a 3-2 comeback victory on Saturday. Matt Martin's third-period goal proved to be the decisive tally as the Islanders completed a comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the first period.

Tags: Matt Martin, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 6, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) moves the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports (Philip G. Pavely)
Dec 6, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) moves the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports (Philip G. Pavely)

DETROIT -- Gustav Nyquist may not be in the Detroit Red Wings future plans, but he's a big part of their present.

Nyquist, a right winger, has five goals and 10 assists in his last six games and is tied with Dylan Larkin for the team lead in points with 26 (seven goals and 19 assists).

Detroit (13-12-4) hosts the New York Islanders (13-11-3) at Little Caesars Arena at Saturday night. The Islanders are 1-3-1 in their past five games and have only scored eight goals in that span.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The 1995-96 Islanders season was an unmitigated disaster, and Billy Joel is partially to blame. 

That was the season the Islanders decided to change their logo and introduce a new mascot -- a fisherman -- to help boost merchandise sales and reinvigorate the fanbase, but it did not quite catch on. 

Per the New York Post, Nicholas Hirshon details in his new book, "We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders," that ownership wanted to capture what constituted an "Islander."

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Anders Lee (27) Sidney Crosby (87) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Anders Lee (27) Sidney Crosby (87) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each had three points for the Penguins as they shut down the Islanders with a 6-2 victory Thursday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 8:34 PIT Kris Letang; Assists: Derick Brassard, Phil Kessel
  • 17:43 NYI Brock Nelson (Short handed); Assists: Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Mayfield
  • 19:31 PIT Kris Letang; Assists: Bryan Rust, Brian Dumoulin

Second period:

  • 7:21 PIT Riley Sheahan; Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Jamie Oleksiak
  • 12:09 PIT Phil Kessel (Power play); Assists: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel
  • 17:37 PIT Phil Kessel; Assists: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel

Third period:

  • 4:23 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Ryan Pulock
  • 13:00 PIT Sidney Crosby; Assists: Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel
Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Pittsburgh Penguins
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