After spending months of extensive research, by watching countless hours of game tape and interviewing potential draft prospects along with their respective junior hockey league coaches, it is my pleasure - here on Islanders Point Blank - to file the first annual IPB’s 2012 NHL Mock Draft.


The 2012 NHL Entry Draft – the 50th edition – will be held on June 22-23, emanating from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.


1. Edmonton – Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL) – The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Yakupov has been the consensus top overall choice since the first draft rankings were announced back in September. Nine months later, no other draft-eligible prospect has made the 18-year-old winger even break a sweat. By winning the draft lottery for a third straight season, becoming the first team since the 1989-91 Quebec Nordiques to select first overall three consecutive years, the Oilers hold all the cards. Yet, despite the fact that its most glaring need is on the blue line, Yakupov’s overall skill-set might just be too much to bypass. Accepting feeds from 2011 first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will give older Oilers fans the opportunity to relive their youth, as they envision Mark Messier feeding Wayne Gretzky back when the team won four Stanley Cups in five seasons.


2. Columbus – Filip Forsberg, LW, Leksands IF (SWE) – Is this the day that the Blue Jackets finally send seven-time, 30-goal scorer Rick Nash packing? If so, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Forsberg would fill a glaring need. Drawing comparisons to Anaheim’s Corey Perry, the 17-year-old Forsberg would be a tremendous complement to 2010 first round selection Ryan Johansen. Yet, despite the fact that his stock has grown since arriving last week at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, all indications are that he will return to his junior team in Sweden for the 2012-13 campaign.


3. Montreal – Alex Galchenyuk, C, Sarnia (OHL) – Despite only dressing for two regular season games this past season – after suffering a torn ACL - the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Galchenyuk returned to the Sting postseason line-up without missing a beat. The Wisconsin-born, Belarusian-raised center has fully recovered from his injury. He took part in all the physical tests at the NHL Scouting Combine. Scouts marvel at his playmaking abilities, believing that it was he who elevated line-mate Yakupov’s overall play at Sarnia. Canadiens fans should be excited at the prospects of 18-year-old Galchenyuk and 23-year-old winger Max Pacioretty playing off one another, in hopes of of reviving an offense that ranked 20th in the league in goals scored.


4. ISLANDERS – Ryan Murray, D, Everett (WHL) – Filling an immediate need, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Murray, who grew up patterning his game after former New Jersey Devils defenseman and future Hall-of-Famer Scott Niedermayer, would be a steadying force to a blue line that only returns three players – Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic and Andrew McDonald – from its 2011-12 roster. The 18-year-old also played admirably for Team Canada at the recent World Championships, filling in for an injured Marc Methot. He drew rave reviews from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. The most NHL-ready defenseman would be given every opportunity to win an opening night roster spot on Long Island.


5. Toronto – Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener (OHL) – In his first season playing on North American soil, Faksa stepped into the shadows left behind by former Kitchener captain and current Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog and excelled. Faksa collected 67 points – 29 goals and 38 assists – in 62 games. Ranked 17th in TSN Craig Button’s latest prospect rankings, Faksa’s meteoric rise up the draft boards draws similarities to that of Ryan Strome, who was selected fifth overall by the Islanders in the 2011 draft after a late surge up the draft rankings. The 18-year-old Faksa, who is also able to slide over to the wing, draws comparisons to current Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski.


6. Anaheim – Matthew Dumba, D, Red Deer (WHL) – The six-foot, 185-pound Dumba is the prototypical high-risk, high reward selection. Not afraid of throwing his body around, Dumba has drawn comparisons to Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, despite giving up three inches and 30 pounds to the 27-year-old Leaf. As veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is considered a question mark to return to the Ducks lineup for the 2012-13 campaign, the 17-year-old Dumba – with a solid training camp – could find his way onto the Ducks’ opening night line-up to play alongside fellow youngsters Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa.


7. Minnesota – Jacob Trouba, D, USNTDP (USHL) – Born in neighboring Rochester, Minnesota, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Trouba showcased his talents by playing for the U.S. National Training Development Program in Ann Arbor. A stay-at-home physical defenseman in the mold of Chris Pronger, Trouba has the make-up fit for the cold winter nights in Minneapolis, St. Paul. Despite the fact that Trouba plans to attend the University of Michigan in the fall, the Wild – with patience - might be getting the draft’s top-overall defenseman in the long run.


8. Carolina – Mikhail Grigorenko, C/RW, Quebec (QMJHL) – The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Grigorenko recorded 85 points – 40 goals and 45 assists – playing for Patrick Roy and the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Once looked at as a sure-bet, top-five overall pick, Grigorenko’s work ethic has come into question. Still, at this point of the draft, the offensively-challenged Hurricanes - who still have their eyes set on reuniting Eric Staal with his brother Jordan in a potential offseason trade with the Penguins - would be foolish to let an Evgeni Malkin-clone slip through its fingertips.


9. Winnipeg – Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton (WHL) – The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Reinhart might be the most imposing physical defenseman to be selected in the entire draft. Yet, having just completed his second full season in Edmonton, many still question whether the son of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart is still yet too raw to play on the NHL scene next season. Whether it has to wait an extra season or two, envision the 18-year-oldReinhart – a Shea Weber-type defenseman – clearing bodies in front of a raucous crowd at MTS Centre. He and 2008 first round pick Zach Bogosian could form a beautiful partnership.


10. Tampa Bay – Olli Maatta, D, London (OHL) – The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Maatta - just 17 years old - played his best hockey at the most opportune time for both the Knights and his personal draft standing. After collecting a respectable 32 points – five goals and 27 assists – in his first season outside of Finland, Maatta – the first overall pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft – would became a playoff sensation playing alongside Jarrod Tinordi – a 2010 first round selection by Montreal. In 19 games, Maatta scored six goals and registered 17 assists, as he helped the Knights capture the 2012 OHL Championship Title. Maatta, who has drawn comparisons with impending UFA Ryan Suter has his sights set on playing in the NHL in the fall. He and 2009 second overall selection Victor Hedman could be a deadly duo in the Sunshine State.


11. Washington (from Colorado) – Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw (WHL) – With both offensive defensemen Mike Green (RFA) and Dennis Wideman (UFA) expecting to test the free agent waters, a huge gap is left on the Capitals blue line. As John Carlson continues to mature into a bona-fide top pairing defenseman, the void on the power play – without Green or Wideman – would be glaring. Morgan Rielly, a 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman, might just be what the doctor ordered. Despite missing 50 games last season with a knee injury, the 18-year-old Rielly – who has drawn comparisons to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson - is an offensive dynamo from the blue line. Considered by many the top offensive defenseman in the entire draft, Rielly might need some fine tuning back in Moose Jaw, but he isn’t long for an NHL invite.


12. Buffalo – Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit (Finland) – While the team continues to pursue Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh in a offseason trade, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Teravainen would be no consolation prize to a team in dire need of scoring punch. Having played the past four seasons in his native Finland, the 17-year-old Teravainen – who has been compared to Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky - would follow in the footsteps of fellow diminutive forwards Nathan Gerbe (5-foot-5) and Tyler Ennis (5-foot-9) on a journey to upstate New York. He is a project with top-six upside and 30-goal potential.


13. Dallas – Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa (OHL) – The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ceci more than doubled his previous two seasons’ point total – 46 - with a 60-point campaign in 64 games for the 2011-12 Ottawa 67’s. Finishing second to Niagara’s Dougie Hamilton (72) in OHL scoring for a defenseman, also helped him elevate his overall draft status. A projected top-four NHL defenseman, Ceci would provide immediate depth on an aging Stars blue line, as both Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray’s NHL careers are winding down. The 18-year-old Ceci has drawn comparisons to Calgary’s Anton Babchuk.


14. Calgary – Matt Finn, D, Guelph (OHL) – As both Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan head into free agency in the next couple of weeks, the Calgary Flames are sure to be looking to add quality depth on their blue line. Enter 6-foot-2, 200-pound Matt Finn. When interviewed earlier this year, Finn referred to himself as a defenseman who plays “a quiet game”. Quiet to some might mean non-descript, yet to other’s Finn’s steady play could translate into a defenseman ready to embark on a 10-to-15 year NHL career. Compared to Carolina’s Tim Gleason, the 18-year-old Finn isn’t showy or flashy, yet he might be a player who could be a building block in Alberta.


15. Ottawa – Sebastian Collberg, RW, Frolunda HC (Sweden) – No better introduction to the NHL game than learning from fellow countrymen Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Collberg possesses a deadly snap shot. Compared to Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri, the 18-year-old Collberg could use another year or two of development time in Sweden. Yet, when ready, he should see 2011 first round pick and fellow countryman Mika Zibanejad on his line.


16. Washington – Brendan Gaunce, C, Belleville (OHL) – Mature beyond his years, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Gaunce was named assistant captain of his OHL team at just 17 years old. Learning from older brother Cameron – a Colorado Avalanche draft pick – who himself played alongside Steven Stamkos and Michael Del Zotto, back in their school-boy days in Markham, Ontario, Brendan elevated his play in his second OHL season, collecting 68 points in 68 games. With hopes of transitioning their play from the frustrations that impending UFA Alexander Semin brought to them on a nightly basis, the Capitals need not worry about Gaunce – a future NHL captain – who will bring his proverbial lunch pail to the office and play with maximum intensity.


17. San Jose – Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough (OHL) – Coming off a season-ending shoulder injury, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Koekkoek could be the type of jewel that San Jose is looking for. After suffering through another early playoff exit, transitioning a hungry Koekkoek into a veteran lineup might be the juice that this organization is needed. Learning from perennial all-stars Dan Boyle and Brent Burns could help ease Koekkoek’s transition onto the NHL scene. Compared to Vancouver’s Alexander Edler, the 18-year-old Koekkoek was recently cleared by medical doctors at the NHL Scouting Combine with full bill of health.


18. Chicago – Tom Wilson, RW, Plymouth (OHL) – Once the Windy City takes a first glance at the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Tom Wilson, they will instantly fall in love. Blue collar by nature, the 18-year-old Wilson could be the spark that this organization – frustrated by a first-round exit to Phoenix – needs. He is willing and able to engage physically. One should expect Vince Vaughn to don Wilson’s sweater just days after he steps foot on the United Center ice. Wilson draws comparisons to Boston’s Milan Lucic.


19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) – Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland (WHL) – Needing much-needed depth on the blue line, the six-foot, 190-pound Pouliot is another one of those steady defensemen destined for a long and productive NHL career. Playing against the likes of Dumba, Rielly, Reinhart and Murray in defensive-laden Western Hockey League has matured Pouliot to the player that he is today. Finishing fourth amongst WHL defenders in points scored, the 18-year-old Pouliot couldn’t ask for two better mentors to hone his game than Lightning defensemen Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund.


20. Philadelphia – Brady Skjei, D, USDP (USHL) – Having already committed to the University of Minnesota, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Skjei provides the Flyers organization a presence on the back end. As defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger are fully aware that their best years are behind them, the 18-year-old Skjei could be that big, physical defenseman that should help the likes of Niklas Grossmann and Braydon Coburn in the future. Yet, patience is a virtue. Don’t expect him to don a Flyers sweater for at least three seasons.


21. Buffalo (from Nashville) - Zemgus Girgensons, C, Dubuque (USHL) – Committed to the University of Vermont in the fall, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Girgensons possesses a skill-set that have many scouts comparing him to Chicago’s Jonathon Toews. A native of Latvia, Girgensons has honed his skills stateside, playing for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. In his two seasons in Dubuque, Girgensons has collected 104 points in 100 games. The 18-year-old Girgensons is projected to be a top-six forward on the pro level, and could provide the Sabres some desperately needed scoring punch, come 2014.


22. Pittsburgh – Tomas Hertl, LW, Slavia (CZE) – Having selected Jaromir Jagr fifth overall back in the 1990 NHL Draft, the Penguins are definitely not shy in plucking young talent from overseas. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hertl – who has drawn comparisons to Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal - plays a strong two-way game, and projects as a top-six forward on the NHL level. Having just completed his first full season playing for Slavia Praha HC, one would expect the Penguins to allow Hertl to develop even more, until ready.


23. Florida – Henrik Samuelsson, C/RW, Edmonton (WHL) – Son of former Pittsburgh Penguins Ulf Samuelsson, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Samuelsson transitioned quite well to the North American game this past season. While playing 28 games for head coach Derek Laxdal and the Edmonton Oil Kings, Samuelsson scored seven goals and added 16 assists. He also racked up 42 penalty minutes, much to his father’s approval. In 17 playoff games, Samuelsson raised his play, scoring four goals and adding 10 assists, as he helped the Oil Kings capture the 2012 WHL Championship Title. For the Panthers, Samuelsson’s frame would be a welcoming addition. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf.


24. Boston – Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville (OHL) – Brother of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban – a pest to Bruins nation – Malcolm, 18, is more mild mannered that his older sibling. Subban also plays between the pipes, and has the athleticism to be a franchise goaltender. With word that Bruins net-minder Tim Thomas is unsure whether he wants to play in the 2012-13 season, the Bruins might be ready to groom a potential franchise-building goaltender. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Subban, whom scouts compare favorably to Canadiens net-minder Carey Price, posted a 2.50 GAA in 39 games played.


25. St. Louis – Pontus Aberg, LW, Djurgardens (SWE) – A speedster off the far wing, Aberg’s lightning quick first step has already intrigued NHL scouts. The Blues, who are always looking to add quality depth up front to complement a defense that was the stingiest in the entire NHL, allowed a league-low 1.89 goals against per game. Compared favorably to Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek, Aberg’s offensive awareness is the reason why many project him to be a top-six forward when he comes stateside. The 18-year-old is expected to play for Djurgardens in 2012-13.


26. Vancouver – Colton Sissons, RW, Kelowna (WHL) – Born in Northwest Vancouver, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Sissons would be a popular choice amongst Canucks fans. Projected to play power forward in the NHL, the 18-year-old Sissons is already mature enough to captain his WHL team at age 18. Sissons, who models his game after fellow Canuck Ryan Kesler, plays a similar two-way style alike his future mate. He should be an instant fan favorite.


27. Phoenix – Scott Laughton, C, Oshawa (OHL) – The six-foot, 170-pound Laughton models his two-way game after Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards. In his second season in Oshawa, the 18-year-old Laughton collected 53 points – 21 goals and 32 assists – in 64 games. Projected as a second line center, Laughton might need another year of seasoning to build up his body before joining his brethren in the desert. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Boston’s Brad Marchand, based on his willingness to throw his body around and having the ability to be a thorn in an opponent’s side.


28. N.Y. Rangers – Stefan Matteau, LW, USNTDP (USHL) – A product of the infamous Notre Dame Academy in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Matteau is projected as a power forward on the NHL level. Matteau, son of former Rangers playoff hero Stephane Matteau, played the past two seasons for the USNTDP juniors, where he collected 19 points in 46 games. He is scheduled to play for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL in the fall. The 18-year-old’s game compares favorably to current Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Can a “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau” be in the cards for the 2015 Rangers?


29. New Jersey*(&) - Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon (WHL) – The six-foot, 195-pound Thrower is known for his hard-nosed, no nonsense play on the back end. Yet, this past season in Saskatoon, Thrower showed a propensity of being more of an offensive threat. He recorded 54 points – 18 goals and 36 assists – in 66 games. In his first two seasons in Saskatoon, Thrower was only able to muster 27 points in 123 games. Still, Thrower lives and dies with his intensity he brings onto the ice – night in and night out. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa, and would be a solid replacement to Bryce Salvador, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.


30. Los Angeles* - Scott Kosmachuk, RW, Guelph (OHL) – The six-foot, 185-pound Kosmachuk collected 59 points – 30 goals and 29 assists – in his second full season at the ’O’. Known as a smooth skater with a quick release, Kosmachuk possesses a quick motor that doesn’t stop. Having an opportunity to learn from Kings captain Dustin Brown can’t help but expedite the 18-year-old’s development. He has drawn comparisons to Colorado’s Steve Downie, and should be a potential top-nine forward when he is physically ready to play in the NHL.


* - Pick to be decided between Stanley Cup Winner and Runner-up.


& - Pick might be forfeited after team circumvented the salary cap to resign Ilya Kovalchuk back in the summer of 2010.

Tags: 2012 Draft, News

Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK -- A pair of weary teams slumping for different reasons will face off Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Los Angeles Kings at Barclays Center.

Both squads enter Saturday on two-game losing streaks. The Islanders were off Friday after suffering a wild 6-4 loss to the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The Kings opened a back-to-back set Friday by falling to the New York Rangers 4-2 in the second game of a four-game East Coast road trip.

The two-game skid for the Kings (20-10-3) comes immediately after an eight-game winning streak that was tied for the second-longest run in franchise history. But even when it was winning, Los Angeles was having trouble putting pucks in the net.

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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Growing up in Edina, Minnesota, Anders Lee excelled in school as well as in sports. A three-sport athlete in high school (hockey, baseball, football), the 27-year old left wing now has quickly established himself as one of the premier power forwards in the National Hockey League. And no, it's not simply a product of playing with captain John Tavares, one of the top-ten players in hockey.

For the Edina Hornets, Lee won the starting quarterback job in his junior year and passed for 2,049 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading his team to the championship game. That winter, he made the transition to hockey, scoring 32 goals and adding 22 assists.

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Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have hit a rough patch this December, winning just twice in eight games. They haven't struggled offensively, having scored three goals or more in five of the games, but have been less-than-desirable defensively. 

Head coach Doug Weight is happy with the offensive output, but wants the team to be more predictable: like meat and potatoes.

"We've proven we're going to score goals and have opportunities, that's a good thing," Weight told Arthur Staple of Newsday. "To me, we need some more meat and potatoes. We need more predictability, we need more mash..."

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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

After losing consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season, and going 2-5-1 to start December, the Islanders are experiencing their first serious bump in the road to qualifying for the playoffs. No one said it would be easy, but with team defense and goaltending like this, it's actually incredible they're currently in a wild card spot. The Islanders have given up more goals this season than every team in the NHL except Arizona.

Will it make you feel any better today if I provide a little perspective? For about half of my time with the Islanders, we were out of the playoff picture before the holiday party.

No? Okay, then let's take a look at the Metropolitan Division and measure up what will be a crazy playoff chase. By decree of the NHL's unique system, at least three Met teams will not make the playoffs this season. The top three teams in the Met get spots, and then there are the two wild cards available. That means, while it's difficult to take the Hurricanes or even the surging Flyers too seriously at this point, one from a group consisting of the three locals, plus the Penguins, Capitals, and Blue Jackets is not going to make it. Here's how I rate the Met Eight, from most likely to qualify to ones in doubt...

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Islanders have loaned Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport of the AHL, the team announced Friday.

The Isles play just once in the next four days, against the Kings on Saturday night at home. Ho-Sang, 21, has two goals and 10 assists in 22 games this season. 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Anyone who has been watching the Islanders' recent slide (six losses in eight games) with objective eyes will tell you that Ho-Sang has been struggling in many facets of his game, meaning the news of his reassignment to Bridgeport is not that big of a surprise...

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General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)
General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)

A decision on who to award the Belmont Park arena site to -- the Islanders or NYCFC -- will likely come within the next three weeks, reports Jim Baumbach of Newsday.

The Islanders and NYCFC both revealed their proposal plans for the redevelopment last Sunday. 

The Isles' plan consisted of an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would be host to about 150 events each year, according to Baumbach and Stefanie Dazio. Along with the arena, 435,000 square feet would be available for retail as well as a hotel and 10,000 square-foot "innovation center." This center will be built with input from residents in the area. 

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Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

A thrilling Thursday night Islanders game saw New York lose 6-4 to the Blue Jackets, with three of the four goals coming from Josh Bailey, his first career hat trick. 

Bailey was happy with the personal achievement, but not overjoyed because the final result was a loss. 

"It's obviously nice to get one, but they are a lot sweeter when you win," Bailey said, via Cory Wright of the Islanders official site. "It's tough to come back and win hockey games when you're down that much. We battled, found a way to get our legs going, compete the rest of the way and make it close, but it's frustrating the way we let it get away."

The Islanders will look to get back to winning ways at home against the Kings Saturday at 7 p.m.

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Dec 14, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Dec 14, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

The Islanders fought back from a 3-0 first intermission hole to tie the game 3-3 in the second period before losing out to the Blue Jackets 6-4. They nearly came back from a multi-goal deficit for the second time on the night, but that effort fell just short before Columbus added a last-second empty net goal.

Josh Bailey scored a hat-trick in the losing effort. 

First period

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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two teams that were knocked back on their heels in their last game will be looking to get their skates under them Thursday night.

The New York Islanders fell behind 5-0 and lost the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Wednesday. One night earlier, the Columbus Blue Jackets also dug themselves a 5-0 hole after two periods and were rocked by the Edmonton Oilers 7-2.

The Blue Jackets (19-11-1) are tied at the top of the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals, but it doesn't seem like they're a first-place team.

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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Dallas Stars center Devin Shore (17) defends New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Dallas Stars center Devin Shore (17) defends New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Stars got the best of the Islanders again Wednesday night, and head coach Doug Weight isn't mad due to the chances his team had all game. 

The scoreboard read 5-2 at the end of three periods, but Weight didn't view it that way. The Isles had a multitude of chances to put the puck in the back of the net, but at the end of the day, the Stars converted more on their chances. 

"I guarantee we had 25 good opportunities - to me it's a winnable game," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "Credit to them, they got the lead, they capitalized, but the difference (between Monday's win over the Capitals) is we probably had twice as many scoring chances."

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Dallas Stars scored the first five goals of the game en route to a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. Anders Lee scored twice in the third period for New York. >> Box score


First period: 

  • 7:37 DAL Tyler Pitlick; Assists: Dan Hamhuis, Jamie Benn
  • 15:46 DAL Alexander Radulov; Assists: Jason Spezza, Mattias Janmark

Second period: 

  • 1:01 DAL Remi Elie; Assists: Devin Shore, John Klingberg
  • 9:21 DAL Benn; Assists: Julius Honka

Third period:

  • :21 DAL Pitlick; Assists: Klingberg, Benn
  • 1:06 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Josh Bailey, John Tavares
  • 16:28 NYI Lee (PP); Assists: Tavares, Bailey
Tags: Anders Lee
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- A pair of goaltenders could be in the spotlight Wednesday night when the New York Islanders host the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center in the teams' final meeting of the season.

Both teams were off Tuesday after snapping three-game losing streaks Monday night. The Islanders ended their skid by beating the visiting Washington Capitals 3-1. The Stars snapped out of their slump and began a four-game Eastern Conference road trip by outlasting the host New York Rangers 2-1 in the shootout.

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders D Ryan Pulock has transformed his game since last season, and it is impressing head coach Doug Weight. 

Pulock showed spurts of an everyday defenseman last season, but it was consistent play. He wasn't being as aggressive as he could be. However, that has changed since Pulock returned to the Isles' lineup on Dec. 1. 

"Whether you're sitting out or you have a bad game, sometimes you make a decision. And it sounds so easy, but I think he just came in a few games ago and it was like, 'OK, that's the guy,'" Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "Quick hands, lugging the puck, stapling guys (to the wall) in his own zone. I think he fed off that."...

Tags: Ryan Pulock
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders needed a big game from one of their struggling goalies against a dangerous Capitals offense, and Jaroslav Halak stepped up big in the team's 3-1 win Monday night. 

Head coach Doug Weight has said that he wanted to help his goalies in Halak and Thomas Greiss figure what has forced them to be inconsistent so far this season. He also didn't care that many were confused as to why Halak was getting his third straight start. 

"I feel good about both our goalies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "No one else does. I don't really care."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jaroslave Halak saved 31 of 32 shots and three different players scored goals for the Islanders in a 3-1 win over the Capitals on Monday night.  << Box score

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Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

NEW YORK -- It took a little longer than expected, but the Washington Capitals are right where most forecasters predicted.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins F Brad Marchand did not face punishment by the NHL after hitting John Tavares up high during the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday.

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders and New York City FC both revealed their proposal plans for the redevelopment of Belmont Park at Elmont Memorial High School on Sunday. 

The Isles plan consisted of a 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would be host to about 150 events each year, according to Newsday's Jim Baumbach and Stefanie Dazio. Along with the arena, 435,000 square feet will be available for retail as well as a hotel and 10,000 square-foot "innovation center." This center will be built with input from residents in the area. 

NYCFC plans for a slightly larger arena with 26,000 seats as well as 400,000 square feets for retails. They also want to add a 5.2-acre community park and a 2-acre soccer facility on the grounds. 

 

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New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)
New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

What we're seeing lately with regard to the New York Islanders is not unprecedented. The team is suffering from what I warned of, in print and on the Secondary Assist podcast: A regression. All teams go through it. The larger question is, how soon until they get out of it?

The answer to that will ultimately decide their 2017-18 fate, not the sole fact that they suffered one...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders travel to Boston and fall to the Bruins 3-1. << Box score

First period: No goals

Second period: 

  • 10:51 BOS  Brad Marchand; Assists: Tory Krug, David Pastrnak

Third period: 

  • 6:45 BOS Jake DeBrusk; Assists: David Pastrnak, Tory Krug
  • 16:52 NYI Anders Lee (Unassisted)
  • 19:18 BOS Danton Heinen (empty net); Assist: Patrice Bergeron
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

BOSTON -- Back in June 2015, the Boston Bruins owned three straight picks in the first round of the NHL draft.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the Penguins scoring two power-play goals in Thursday night's 4-3 overtime loss, Isles head coach Doug Weight devoted a full hour at practice Friday to fix his team's penalty kill. 

The Islanders definitely need help in that area as they currently sit 30th in the league with a 73.3 percent efficency on penalty kill opportunities. Thursday night marked the fourth straight game the team has allowed two power-play goals as well. 

After a 45-minute video session, the Isles took the ice to practice their penalty kill for a full hour, which Weight thought was necessary to figure out what is going wrong. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)

Today's subject is assistant coaches. The premise: it's unfair to make the special teams failings of the Islanders or any other team all about one or two assistant coaches.

But I'd like to start by asking you rabid hockey fans to rack your brains for a moment.

For as long as you have been following the NHL, can you think of ANY assistant coach who was or is regarded as an absolute special teams genius, a maestro of the power play or penalty kill?

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Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)
Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)

Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored goals in the third period help the Islanders tie the game, but Pittsburgh's Matt Hunwick scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the Penguins to a 4-3. win >> Box score

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) (John Geliebter)
Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) (John Geliebter)

PITTSBURGH -- After winning the past two Stanley Cups, the Pittsburgh Penguins usually find themselves circled on opponents' calendars. Despite some inconsistency, they lived up to the billing recently.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Head coach Doug Weight believes his goaltender situation needs to be addressed as he doesn't have a definitive starter between Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak.

Greiss has been struggling of late, owning a 3.79 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage this season. Though Greiss says he's fine, Weight thinks he needs to figure out what is plaguing the veteran goalie. 

"Thomas is such an easygoing guy, he's always, 'I'm fine, I'm fine, it's all good.' But I think it's something we have to address rather than ignore," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "We've got to help him through it. He's not dreadful. He's had some bad luck, some games he's played well where his numbers weren't great. Now you pair it with what you've seen the last couple weeks, we've got to fix it."

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Penguins on the road tonight at 7 p.m., head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

The New York Islanders have been valued at $395 million, which ranks 22nd on Forbes list of NHL teams' valuation.

Despite there being a 3-percent increases from a season ago, it is less than the $485 million Jon Ledecky, Scott Malkin, and the rest of the group paid for Charles Wang's controlling interest in the franchise. 

The biggest statistic that stands out is the team's $8.6 million loss in operating income last season compared to a $2.7 million income in 2015. 

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Despite the Islanders making a comeback, lack of penalty kills forced their hand in the loss to the Lightning, 6-2, on Tuesday night. 

It was a slow first period with the Isles only taking three shots on net. However, the second saw a different team that would muster two goals to tie the game up. Momentum looked to be on the side of the road team, but two penalties would change all of that as the Lightning capitalized on both power-play chances at the end of the second to take a controlling 4-2 lead that they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way. 

After awful penalty kills of late, head coach Doug Weight is confused as to what happened to his unit. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Lightning scored four unanswered goals -- including two by Yanni Gourde -- to run away with a 6-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. >> Box score

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Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)
Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)

TAMPA -- Two weeks ago, when the New York Islanders came to Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked mortal for the first time this season.

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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Russ Farwell, the longtime general manager of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds, knows how difficult it is to select the best teenage hockey players in the NHL Draft. As a former GM of the Flyers in the early '90s, like his colleagues he had his share of hits and misses.

But even Farwell was surprised to see the uniquely gifted Mathew Barzal, one of the best players in Seattle history, go unselected for 15 picks - including selections 13, 14 and 15 by the Boston Bruins - before Garth Snow and the Islanders snapped him up in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We were aware of teams across the NHL that had Mathew as high as fourth or fifth overall in their rankings," Farwell said in a phone conversation from Seattle. "I know Carolina liked him a lot, but decided to go with a good defenseman [Noah Hanfin, fifth overall]. And sure, I was bit surprised he went by those picks Boston had."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

It was a crazy game down in Orlando, but the Islanders managed to squeak out two points on the road thanks to Mathew Barzal

This game saw everything from a star goalie in Roberto Luongo carried off the ice with an injury to Cal Clutterbuck needing to be held back from an official. The cherry on top was the 4-4 tie that couldn't be settled in overtime, and needed a shootout to determine a winner. Luckily for the Isles, Jaroslav Halak was a brick wall and Barzal was the only player to find the back of the net. 

It was wild, but the Islanders will be happy leaving Florida with two points...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout after scoring four goals apiece in regulation on Monday at BB&T Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 10:25 FLA Keith Yandle
  • 13:15 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech

Second period:

  • 5:35 NYI Thomas Hickey; Assist: Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 8:45 FLA Aaron Ekblad (power play); Assists: Yandle, Vincent Trocheck
  • 10:34 FLA Aleksander Barkov (power play); Assists: Yandle, Trocheck
  • 16:19 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Ho-Sang, Jason Chimera
  • 18:21 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Third period:

  • 5:06 FLA Denis Malgin; Assists: Trocheck, Jamie McGinn
Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Florida Panthers, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey
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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders, who lead the NHL in scoring, expect to go up against one of the league's all-time great goalies, Roberto Luongo, on Monday night when they face the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.

The Islanders (15-8-2) are led by center John Tavares, who ranks third in the NHL with 16 goals. His team is first in the league with an average of 3.72 goals per game.

Tags: Florida Panthers, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The bid for Belmont Park is now only two as the Islanders and New York City Football Club are the final bidders for the arena project, per Newsday's Robert Brodsky

Both organizations will be able to outline their visions for their respective projects this Sunday during a public meeting. The third bidder, Blumenfeld Development Group, withdrew its bid for Belmont after saying the state's "extraordinary requirements" for the property make it appear the selection was predetermined to include the final two candidates. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think Ledecky is playing his cards perfectly. He knows that the Belmont site is, at best, NYCFC's third choice. Every time he says that there is no Plan B, he gently reminds ESD that awarding the site to the Islanders not only means guaranteed development, but immediate development, to an organization that wants to be a part of the Elmont community. 

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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders lost their first game in regulation at Barclays Center this season Friday night to the Ottawa Senators, a wild 6-5 affair, and the reaction on social media from some was….well, sadly, expected.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

NEW YORK -- The hottest team in the NHL will face one of the league's coldest squads Friday night when the New York Islanders host the Ottawa Senators at Barclays Center.

The Islanders earned their season-high fourth straight win as well as their seventh victory in eight games Tuesday when they beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Senators' worst skid in nearly six years continued Wednesday, when they suffered their seventh straight loss with a 2-1 defeat to the host Montreal Canadiens.

The four-game winning streak by the Islanders (15-7-2) is the longest in the NHL entering Thursday night. The run has been fueled by versatility up and down the lineup for New York, which has outscored the opposition 16-10 and received goals from 11 players during the run.

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New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)
New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)

Last season, Andrew Ladd didn't have the greatest start to his Islanders career. But, over the second half of the season, he picked up his form. 

This season, he hasn't taken long to get off the bus, something that both he and head coach Doug Weight attribute to his health.

"My body is feeling better as a whole, which for me, has given me the opportunity to be more aggressive," Ladd told Cory Wright of the Islanders official website...

Tags: Andrew Ladd
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General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterBad, choppy, slushy ice. Off-center scoreboard. Obstructed view seats. Not enough Islanders branding around the concourses. The LIRR. John Tavares' contract extension.

We've all heard the many complaints lodged over the course of the two-plus seasons the Islanders have called Barclays Center in Brooklyn home. However, the fact remains that the deal struck between former owner Charles Wang and BSE CEO Brett Yormark saved the team from relocating after the township of Hempstead decided it wasn't worth much of a fight to properly refurbish the Nassau Coliseum and keep the team where it played since their inception in 1972.

The relationship hasn't been perfect -- it's now known to be downright rocky at present -- but both sides have found a way to co-exist until a permanent solution is found. With the Jon Ledecky-Scott Malkin RFP for Belmont submitted last month, it's the Islanders' only known hope for getting a modern building of their own and remaining in the area...

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Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Hockey hall of famer and Islanders great Bryan Trottier hopes current Isles captain John Tavares never leaves the organization.

"We hope Tavares stays with us forever and dies an Islander," Trottier said Wednesday. "It just should be ... He wears the 'C 'so well."

Although he last played for the Islanders in 1990, Trottier and other former Islanders want to see their former franchise succeed. The 61-year-old spent 15 years on Long Island and was a key part of the Islanders' winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.

Tags: John Tavares
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he is "wholly, fully, unequivocally supportive" of the Islanders' effort to land an arena deal at Belmont Park, according to Neil Best of Newsday. "I think it would be great," Bettman added. "I think it would be great for the Islanders. I think it would be great for the people of greater New York. I think it would be great for Long Island."

The Islanders submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bettman has always been publicly supportive of the Islanders staying in the New York area, preferably Long Island. Say what you want about the man, like him or hate him, he knows the business of running a professional sports league and he has seen the NHL grow in a market where it's not second fiddle, but fourth.

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 (Marc DesRosiers)
(Marc DesRosiers)

Another strong effort, another win at the beloved Barc…fun, right?

Garth Snow and Doug Weight's club has been a blast the first 24 games of the season. To the people who cover the league closely but the Islanders not closely enough, they are one of the surprise early hits of the season.

Like a lot of things when it comes to the Islanders, and this has almost always been the case throughout their history, it's like no one saw this coming.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Chris Botta
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Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Islanders mounted a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period and tacked on two more later on en route to a 5-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin De Haan, Jordan Eberle
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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Canucks tonight at 7 p.m. at Barclays Center, head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Islanders F Casey Cizikas didn't practice Monday as he continues to nurse a lower-body injury from Saturday's contest against the Senators. 

Cizikas was sore, according to head coach Doug Weight, but the team is unsure when Cizikas will return to the ice. 

"He's a little sore today so he took the day off," Weight said after practice, "but I don't think it's going to be anything serious. Could be 3 or 4 days, could be a week or he could be playing tomorrow."

The Islanders are set to face the Canucks Tuesday night followed by the Senators again on Friday. The 26-year-old center has notched eight points (four goals, four assists) in 23 games this season. 

Tags: Casey Cizikas
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

23 games in and it's clear to see these are not your 2016-17 New York Islanders, who stumbled out of the gate, leading to a one-point deficit in their chase to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle scored goals and Jaroslav Halak saved 31 of 32 shots to help the Islanders beat the Senators, 2-1, on Saturday night. at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Box score

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