CB on FanHouse: Stanley Cup or Bust for Laviolette

Chris Botta on Twitter

Botta/Schultz on FanHouse: Silence in the Trade Market

 

10:20 am - A league source tells Point Blank that Islanders general manager Garth Snow has contacted NHL teams in search of a mobile and experienced defenseman.

 

"Garth is asking around, trying to make something happen," said the source. "His biggest obstacle is that a lot of teams are looking for the same thing."

 

The Islanders play in Philadelphia tonight with a thin blue line. Radek Martinek is out for the season. Andy Sutton (groin) could return on Saturday for the home match with Boston, but is out tonight and tomorrow. Bridgeport recall Andrew MacDonald is getting 12 minutes a game, while veteran defenseman Brendan Witt is at a team-low minus-15 and only played 11 minutes Saturday in Tampa Bay. Other than Dustin Kohn in a pinch, the Sound Tigers do not have a defenseman knocking on the door.

 

NHL defensemen that could be available and fit the Islanders' low-cost needs - in terms of the acquisition price of a mid-round draft pick - include Carolina's Joe Corvo (injured), Aaron Ward, Toronto's hard-hitting but mobility-challenged Garnet Exelby and - in a salary dump but a long shot to return - Chicago's Brent Sopel. Corvo and Ward would be sound acquisitions.

 

(Trivia note: in his 40 days on the job, Islanders GM Neil Smith tried to sign Ward, but - oh, the irony - was out-bid by the Rangers).

 

Teams also in the hunt for defensemen include the Rangers and Columbus.

 

With little action in the NHL trade market, the Islanders will probably have to get by through the holidays with the blue line they have. The best option passed through their hands when Los Angeles snatched Randy Jones off re-entry waivers from Philadelphia last month. The 28-year old Jones is 4-5-9 in 12 games and is playing more than 20 minutes a game since joining the Kings - all for well below the league average salary.

 

While the Islanders unearthed a hidden AHL gem in Matt Moulson, they did not make the most of their early position in the waiver pecking order and $17 million of cap space (it can't all got to Kovalchuk!). The Islanders did take Rob Schremp, who has watched more hockey games from the press box lately than Peter Botte.

 

For depth on defense, the Islanders may have to scour the AHL ranks for a veteran stop-gap. San Jose/Worcester defenseman Joe Callahan, who was solid in 18 games with the Islanders last season, is available.

 

Snow is doing what good GMs do - dropping lines in the water, as he calls it. Although he probably will not land a defenseman this week, he is laying the groundwork for a potential deal in February. The way the Islanders have continued to find ways to win this season, it should not be too late.

 

*

 

PB on NHL Home Ice Tonight: I'll be on with Jim "Boomer Gordon" on Sirius/XM NHL Home Ice beginning at 6:00 pm talking about tonight's game and all things Islanders.

 

Tonight's Lineup: Martin Biron in net tonight, Dwayne Roloson gets an encore in Toronto on Wednesday. Same forward lines and D pairings.

 

As if the Islanders' D is not having enough trouble staying healthy, Katie Strang tweeted this morning that Brendan Witt was hit by a car in Philadelphia. This being a hockey player - this being Brendan Witt - he will play tonight.

 

As expected, Jeremy Reich has cleared waivers. He's a good addition to the Sound Tigers and could be a solid toughness call-up for the Islanders.

 

For the Flyers, Ray Emery has been placed on IR. Brian Boucher starts. The Flyers are also missing Simon Gagne, Blair Betts and Darroll Powe. Consistent with his slumping team, Jeff Carter has just one goal in his last 11 games - count on one tonight. James van Riemsdyk is goal-less in nine games, or around the time FanHouse wrote him up as one of John Tavares's top competitors for the Calder.

 

Lavi Thanks LI: Flyers coach Peter Laviolette tonight meets the first franchise to give him a shot as a head man. "The Islanders are always going to have a special place in my heart," the Stanley Cup-winning coach told Point Blank. "They gave me my first opportunity when I had no idea if one would ever come. We made great friends on Long Island, friends we have to this day. The fans were wonderful to my family. We loved our time with the Islanders and will always be thankful to Charles Wang for everything he did for us."

 

DP Progress: Rick DiPietro continues on the road back in Bridgeport. The goalie took the full practice with the Sound Tigers yesterday and stayed late for extra shots. He's practicing again today."I feel good," he said. Next up: Friday in Springfield or Saturday in Hartford, followed by - if his knee continues to hold up - a home game a week from tonight against Portland. If DiPietro has no setbacks, gets in NHL game shape and sharpens his play, he will return to the Islanders in the middle of next week.

 

With everything going so smoothly in DiPietro's protocol, a year later it continues to astound that the Islanders never had him start his rehabilitation slowly last season with games in Bridgeport.

 

Point Blank Night Tomorrow: It's a lock - we'll have our biggest crowd yet on Wednesday night when PB Night moves to SOCIAL, across the street from the Coliseum. Islanders vs. Toronto at SOCIAL on a dozen screens. Guests: Steve Webb, Deb Placey. Free buffet and $1 Bud drafts from 7-8 pm. Complimentary shots after each Islanders goal. Free raffle for all. All ages welcome, 21 and over to drink. SOCIAL is at 1002 Hempstead Turnpike across from the Coliseum. PLEASE RSVP (YESSES ONLY) AT THIS LINK. I'm also on Facebook. Don't miss it.

 

Kinger Gets the Play-by-Play: Since the game is on Versus and there's no Plus broadcast to simulcast, Chris King will do the honors on the Islanders Radio Network. Last I heard, he's doing the game all by himself. A color commentator would be nice, but if anyone can do pull off the play-by-play and keep the listener informed, it's Kinger.

 

Deep Thoughts: As good as Atlanta has been, the Islanders are just four points behind them. As bad as Toronto has been, the Maple Leafs are now just four points behind the Islanders.

 

Score-O!: Predict the score (and the winner) of tonight's game in Comments.

 

I'll be away on assignment. Kevin Schultz of NHL FanHouse and Barry Melrose Rocks will stop by for tonight's tilt.

Tags: News

Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser (39) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (52) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser (39) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (52) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Though Tanner Fritz netted his first career goal, the Islanders couldn't hold off the Wild, losing, 5-3, at Barclays Center. << Box score

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Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Islanders G Thomas Greiswas placed on the IR Monday, which is retroactive to Feb. 16. His timetable for return is unknown.

Greiss' injury comes the same day he posted a 45-save shutout on the road against the Hurricanes in the Isles' 3-0 win. 

The 32-year-old is 11-7-2 on the season with a 3.84 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 24 games. Christopher Gibson was an emergency call-up from Bridgeport to take his roster spot. 

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- It took the New York Islanders only 24 hours to rewrite the narrative of their season. << Read more

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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Nashville Predators during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Nashville Predators during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Before the Islanders back-to-back against the Rangers and Hurricanes, there would have been no rationale behind predicting that the team would come out on the other side with a pair of high-save shutouts. Between two goalies, nonetheless. 

But that's exactly what happened. On Friday night against the Hurricanes, Thomas Greiss saved all 45 of Carolina's shots en route to a crucial 3-0 win. It was the perfect encore to Jaroslav Halak's 50-save shutout against the Rangers the night prior.

"He was outstanding," head coach Doug Weight said of Greiss, via Cory Wright of the Islanders official site. "He was just a big piece of that win. And on the team's behalf, I thought we had the best effort in front of Thomas we've had in the last six weeks..."

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

Thomas Greiss posted a 45-save shutout, while Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier, and John Tavares each netted a goal in a big Isles win over the Hurricanes on Friday night. << Box score

Second period

  • 10:06 NYI Johnny Boychuk; Assists: Brock Nelson, Ross Johnston

Third period

  • 12:00 NYI Anthony Beauvillier (Unassisted)
  • 19:28 NYI John Tavares (ENG)
Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Greiss
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

With the fog settling on what has already been a tenuous week, things still feel… chaotic.

Whether it was on the ice or off, there were almost too many threads to attempt to keep track of.

There was a bad loss to Columbus that hurt dimming chances in the playoff race. Then, there was Doug Weight's ensuing irate press conference. Somehow fans were to blame for another lackluster defensive performance.

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Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As much as the New York Islanders needed a victory, they also needed to regain confidence in their back end. << Read more

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New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)
New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)

After the Islanders beat the Rangers 3-0 at home, a familiar result as the Isles are 5-0-0 against the Rangers at the Barclay's Center, general manager Garth Snow could breathe a bit easier as fan discontentment has boiled recently. 

The Islanders got their first shutout of the season behind Jaroslav Halak's 50 saves and head coach Doug Weight hopes there is more to come from the team who has conceded the most goals in the NHL.

"It's not the be-all-end-all," Weight said, via Anthony Rieber of Newsday. "But yeah, it feels really good for him. I guess it was the first one of the year. We need to build on that..."

Tags: Josh Bailey
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a glove save against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a glove save against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Jaraslov Halak earned his first shutout of the season with 50 saves as the Islanders beat the Rangers 3-0. << Box score

First period

  • 4:53 NYI Josh Bailey (PPG); Assists: Nick Leddy, Mathew Barzal

Second period

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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)

NEW YORK -- Fans of the New York Islanders and New York Rangers hoping to see their favorite teams clash in the NHL playoffs are likely to be disappointed for a 24th straight spring. As a result, Thursday night will have to suffice.

The Big Apple rivals will play their first -- and possibly final -- game this season with a playoff-type atmosphere Thursday, when the Islanders host the Rangers at Barclays Center.

Both teams are coming off slump-deepening losses Tuesday that further lengthened their odds of emerging from the packed Eastern Conference wild-card race with a playoff berth. The Islanders fell to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-1 while the Rangers lost to the host Minnesota Wild, 3-2.

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 (Dennis Wierzbicki)
(Dennis Wierzbicki)

Islanders C Anders Lee is asking fans not to donate to his Kancer Jam Foundation in light of the "Snow Must Go" movement, which is in reference to Islanders GM Garth Snow. 

Many fans believe Snow hasn't been the best GM, and after not making any moves at the trade deadline, they feel it is time for the team to look for a new one.

Lee can't back this movement as Snow was the reason the Isles drafted him back in 2009. He posted to Twitter to tell fans to donate to a different cause instead of his own, which raises money to fight cancer in an event that includes the famous backyard game "Kan Jam..."

Tags: Anders Lee
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Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

In a tailspin that has seen his club drop six of its last eight games, Islanders coach Doug Weight is hoping an upcoming matchup with the rival Rangers on Thursday at Barclays Center will turn things around.

"It's always fun to play them and they're in the same situation we are," Weight said. "They're playing for their lives."

The Islanders (27-25-6, 60 points) are one point ahead of the Rangers, who are in last place in the Metropolitan Division. Over their last 34 games, the Isles are 12-18-4 which puts them three points behind the Hurricanes for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They dropped a 4-1 decision to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, their fourth loss in five games.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

To start off their "do-or-die" week, it was the night of the skating dead for the Islanders on their home ice.The Isles were ready to make a statement this week as they played three division opponents who are all looking for a wild card slot. But, instead of coming out with the same intensity, New York dropped a dud on their home ice as the Blue Jackets waltzed away with a 4-1 win. 

Head coach Doug Weight said "we were just flat" as they were outshot 51-30, and allowed four unanswered goals after John Tavares' power-play goal in the first period. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares
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Oct 13, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) awaits the face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Oct 13, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) awaits the face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

Have you ever felt sick, but just didn't feel like going to doctor's office because setting up an appointment gets to be a hassle? You rationalize to yourself that whatever's ailing you will calm down and ease up, but you let it fester and it only gets worse. 

That's kind of like what the Islanders are doing with their defense this season. 

It's been written about and discussed ad nauseam, but this team's blueline has been, to put it nicely, not up to snuff. The eye test is not pretty, and the numbers back it up...

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Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Blue Jackets responded to John Tavares' first period goal with four unanswered goals of their own to cruise to a 4-1 victory Tuesday at the Barclays Center. >> Box score

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Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) and center Alan Quine (10) fight for the puck with Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie (17) and Florida center Micheal Haley (18) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) and center Alan Quine (10) fight for the puck with Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie (17) and Florida center Micheal Haley (18) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Two of the seven Metropolitan Division teams wrapped up in a tightly-packed race for the final two Metro playoff spots and the two Eastern Conference wild-card berths will face off at Barclays Center.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With three big games in the next five days, the Islanders are gearing up for a "do-or-die" week. 

The first of the three will be the Blue Jackets coming to Brooklyn on Tuesday, and Casey Cizikas speaks for the whole team when he says this game is the start to either good tidings or bad fortunes for the Islanders, who have been up and down all season long. 

"I think this week is do-or-die for us," Cizikas told Newsday's Brian Heyman at practice Monday. "We'd either be in a really good position or we can be in a tough position where we're kind of looking from the other side in. We want to make sure that we're putting pressure on other teams to keep up with us and we're not chasing them. So this week is massive."

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Mathew Barzal
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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders 00:01:00
Islanders head coach Doug Weight discusses the decision to bench Mathew Barzal late in the team's loss to Calgary on Sunday.

Islanders rookie forward Mathew Barzal said he his holding himself accountable after head coach Doug Weight benched him for the final seven minutes of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

"I'll own up to it," Barzal told Newsday's Brian Heyman after Monday's practice. "I didn't have a great game. I didn't deserve to be out there late in the game. He made a good coaching move. I've got to hold myself accountable. I'm not going to sit here and pout and be upset that I wasn't out there. I know I've got to play better."

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Feb 11, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic (24) controls the puck against New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 11, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic (24) controls the puck against New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Travis Hamonic never got a proper exit from the Islanders, but the fans made up for it in his homecoming Sunday night. 

The former Islanders defenseman was traded to the Flames this past summer for draft picks, and Isles Country couldn't send him off in the way they wanted to. That is why his No. 3 jersey was seen all over Barclays Center last night as the Flames came to town. 

Hamonic, who served as an alternate captain and spent seven years in the blue and orange, made an impact on head coach Doug Weight during his time in New York.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaroslav Halak surrendered a late goal to Matthew Tkachuk as the Islanders lost to the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Sunday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 3:08 NYI Casey Cizikas

Second period:

Tags: Calgary Flames
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Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

NEW YORK -- A pair teams feeling decidedly different about their most recent games will face each other Sunday night when the New York Islanders host the Calgary Flames at Barclays Center.

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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) 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 center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Everything about Friday night's game against the Red Wings felt like a microcosm of the entire season.

Watching the first two-and-a-half periods of the game, it truly felt like one could fill out an Islanders bingo card - defensive turnovers, plenty of failures clearing the zone, an early deficit, subpar goaltending from Thomas Greiss and an angry #IslesTwitter calling for someone's head.

Even when it looked like there was a comeback in the works early in the third period, Darren Helm and Anthony Mantha dashed all hopes with two goals in quick succession...

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Feb 9, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with center Mathew Barzal (13) after Nelson scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 9, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with center Mathew Barzal (13) after Nelson scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The box score for the Islanders win over the Red Wings looked more like a low scoring football game than a hockey game. Isles head coach Doug Weight and his players hope the enthralling 7-6 victory will mean more than just two points and will act as a springboard for the rest of the season.

After going behind 3-0 in the first period and hearing boos from their home crowd at the Barclay's Center, the team rallied back. The Red Wings seemed to quell the first comeback attempt, extending their lead to 5-2, but four straight third-period powerplay goals pushed the Islanders into the lead. They'd eventually need overtime to seal the win, but a galvanizing win it was...

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Brock Nelson capped off his hat trick -- and the Isles' big comeback -- with an overtime goal to defeat the Red Wings, 7-6, at Barclays Center. << Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

NEW YORK -- Two teams on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference wild-card race will square off in a pivotal game Friday night when the New York Islanders host the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center. << Read more

 

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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Thomas Greiss will be in net for the Islanders tonight against the Red Wings, head coach Doug Weight said.

The forwards will remain the same.

Seven defensemen -- including the recently-activated Johnny Boychuk -- will take warmups.

Tags: Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Greiss
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If you've ever wondered about the kind of things a general manager might say to his team's owners in the suite during a game, at dinner at a North Shore steakhouse, or on the phone to cover his hide the morning after the latest loss, wonder no more. This week, Garth Snow pulled back the curtain on the wizardry that has enabled him to remain GM of the Islanders for nearly a dozen years, despite any measurable success.

Perhaps emboldened by another "atta way!" from ownership and a strong cup of Starbucks, Snow was at his hypnotic best when speaking with Steven Marcus of Newsday on Wednesday. His team merely in a scramble for eighth place again, Snow has long since given up on trying to win over the fan base.

As he did in the Charles Wang era, Snow's primary focus is on retaining his power with ownership. Think that's being overdramatic? This is a man who failed for years and was given the added title of president and later a golden parachute by Wang. Imagine if his Islanders had ever accomplished anything!

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Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)

The Islanders activated defenseman Johnny Boychuk off injured reserve on Friday after he had missed the past six weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced.

Boychuk, who has not appeared in a game since Dec. 27, has recorded three goals and six assists in 34 games this season.

In Boychuk's absence, the Islanders have gone 6-10-4 and have given up 3.6 goals per game.

Tags: Johnny Boychuk
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders fell behind the Sabres 3-0 on Thursday night but clawed back to tie the game 3-3 in the third period. Unfortunately, they couldn't complete the comeback and lost 4-3. 

John Tavares scored the Islanders first goal, launching the comeback that fell short, but blamed missed opportunities as the reason for the defeat. 

"They capitalized more on their opportunities than we did on ours," Tavares said, via the team. "It's just unfortunate because overall it was a pretty decent hockey game. We came back and had big goals, but just blown coverage in our own zone and it cost us."

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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 Islanders stormed back to tie the game 3-3 after being down 3-0, only to loss 4-3 late in the third period. << Box score

First period:

  • 7:41 BUF Jack Eichel; Assists: Casey Nelson, Sam Reinhart
  • 13:21 BUF Evan Rodrigues; Assists: Sam Reinhart, Marco Scandella

Second period:

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Jan 4, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The losses keep on piling up for the Buffalo Sabres.

With losses in all four games so far in a five-game homestand, the Sabres will look to end their home stretch on a more positive note when the New York Islanders visit on Thursday night.

The Sabres (14-29-10) were dominated in consecutive losses to New Jersey, Florida and St. Louis but Buffalo did put up more of a fight in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks. In that game, Ryan O'Reilly forced overtime with a late goal before the Sabres ultimately fell in the extra 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)

Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Islanders when they face the Sabres tonight, head coach Doug Weight said.

Ross Johnston will be in for Alan Quine.

Defensive pairings will be announced during warmups.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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Garth Snow doesn't often conduct interviews of any real heft, but when he does, they are almost always embarrassing to the franchise and insulting to the fan base. As for Snow, he has no shame. This guy has been trolling the customers and his employers since before Twitter really took off.

Snow did not disappoint on Wednesday, when he launched a dizzying torrent of turds at the dignified Steven Marcus of Newsday. Marcus has been a strong journalist for a long time on the Island. He did his job. He got someone to talk who usually runs away when the going gets tough, and then Marcus reported what his subject said.

There are two themes to any Garth Snow interview. The less important, but more hilarious portion is when Snow tries to send twisted messages to his bosses to illustrate what a brilliant general manager he is. On Wednesday to Marcus, Snow obliterated his own record for unleashing quality bullcrap in brief time, making Calvin de Haan a $10 million-a-year defenseman in the process by citing his injury as a primary "fact" behind his team's mediocrity. It was such an awesome display of desperately pumping himself up through fiction, it warrants its own post tomorrow. (Doug Weight, apparently bummed out over bloggers, deserves a break)...

Tags: Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have placed Scott Mayfield (lower-body injury) has been placed on IR, retroactive to Feb. 5, the team announced.

Mayfield has two goals and 10 assists, and has amassed 41 penalty minutes in 43 games this season.

The 25-year-old agreed to a five-year contract extension in January that is worth $1.45 million annually, according to Newsday.

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

It was yet another painful loss for the Islanders Monday night, but this time they had the lead and failed to finish the game. 

The Islanders held a 4-3 lead going into the third period, and it looked all but over when the Predators couldn't convert on any of their opportunities. However, it took just one shot with 42.2 seconds left in the period to send the game to overtime. 

They may have notched a point, but it was a game in which the Islanders needed to win yet couldn't finish the job. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Nick Leddy
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GEICO SportsNite: Weight on loss 00:00:30
Monday night's 5-4 overtime loss to the Predators was a disappointing one for Doug Weight and the Islanders, who were hoping to bounce back.

The Islanders blew a two-goal lead and lost to the Nashville Predators 5-4 in overtime on Monday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 4:55 NYI John Tavares (power play); Assists: Josh Bailey, Anders Lee
  • 11:59 NSH Kevin Fiala; Assists: Kyle Turris, Craig Smith
  • 13:27 NSH Fiala; Assists: Ryan Ellis, Smith
  • 14:05 NYI Ryan Pulock; Assists: Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson
  • 17:03 NYI Casey Cizikas; Assist: Jason Chimera

Second period:

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Nashville Predators, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock
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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates the puck by Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates the puck by Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders stemmed a crisis and steadied their Eastern Conference playoff positioning with a narrow win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

The Islanders' reward? A date with one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

Tags: Nashville Predators
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Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) shoots the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) shoots the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders D Nick Leddy finally snapped his goal-less streak Saturday against the Blue Jackets, and it was a big one too. 

Leddy's goal may have came in the first period, but it was needed as it appeared the Blue Jackets' forecheck was becoming too much for New York. It tied the game up, and for Leddy, he secured his first goal since Nov. 24. 

Along with the goal, head coach Doug Weight thought Leddy has a great all-around game, and it was the play he has been looking for him to produce all season. 

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jordan Eberle tied the game and Brock Nelson scored the go-ahead to help the Islanders overcome a third-period deficit and beat the Blue Jackets, 4-3. >> Box score

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Nick Leddy
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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)

NEW YORK -- No playoff contender has scored fewer goals this season than the Columbus Blue Jackets. No team, period, has given up more goals than the New York Islanders.

Something will have to give Saturday night, when the Islanders host the Blue Jackets in a battle of struggling teams at Barclays Center.

Both teams are winless in two games following the All-Star Break. The Islanders lost for the second time in as many nights Wednesday, when they were routed by the host Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-0. The Blue Jackets began a back-to-back set Friday by falling to the visiting San Jose Sharks, 3-1.

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New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)

After Islanders head coach Doug Weight showed his team 20 clips from their 5-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, the players reacted with a hard practice. 

Weight says they were embarrassed by what they saw on film and was impressed with how the team responded in practice. 

"They saw themselves making mistakes and [it] embarrassed them," Weight said, via Cory Wright of the Islanders official site. "[They] responded with a vocal, competitive practice with life, with energy and execution. It can go two ways and we all have been a part of it, but I like how we responded..."

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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

It may have been hard, but it was necessary for head coach Doug Weight to show film from the 5-0 loss to the Maple Leafs Wednesday night. 

"One of the worst films I think I've ever shown," Weight told Newsday's Mark Hermann.

Weight showed 20 clips to his players, and he couldn't bear to watch as his players floated around the ice without regard for the speedy Leafs around them. 

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders GM Garth Snow said he will not trade captain and leading scorer John Tavares, via Pierre LeBrun of TSN.

Currently, the Islanders are struggling to pick up points. They remain one point off the final wildcard place, though have played two more games than the two teams ahead of them. As such, questions have begun to swirl about the future of Tavares.

LeBrun reported that he asked Snow if the team would trade Tavares before the deadline. Snow's response: "I am not trading John Tavares..."

Tags: John Tavares
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Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhen you awoke Thursday morning, it might have taken an extra brushing or two to get the bad taste out of your mouth from the previous two games the Islanders 'participated' in.

A sleepy 4-1 loss to the Panthers at Barclays Center, their third straight home defeat, was followed by a no-show in Toronto, losing 5-0 to the Maple Leafs, getting outshot in the process, 50-28.

If you bothered to even check the current NHL standings after Thursday night's games, you would see that New York is still well within striking distance of a playoff spot, trailing the Flyers by one point (giving two games in hand) and Blue Jackets by three points (also giving two games) for the final two wild card spots in the Eastern conference...

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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Mathew Barzal has been named Rookie of the Month for January after notching three goals and 12 assists in 13 games.

The 20-year-old Barzal has 16 goals and 35 assists in 52 games this season, which includes 4 power play goals and a +/- of 2.

Click below for videos

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Jan 31, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (13) battles for position with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick (8) in front of goalie Frederik Andersen (31) in the first period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)
Jan 31, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (13) battles for position with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick (8) in front of goalie Frederik Andersen (31) in the first period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)

The Islanders surrendered 50 shots on goal to the Maple Leafs, who earned the 5-0 win on Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre. >> Box score

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Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) and center Alan Quine (10) fight for the puck with Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie (17) and Florida center Micheal Haley (18) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) and center Alan Quine (10) fight for the puck with Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie (17) and Florida center Micheal Haley (18) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs could have defenseman Nikita Zaitsev back in the lineup Wednesday in their game against the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre.

Zaitsev suffered a broken foot Dec. 15 in a game against the Detroit Red Wings and has not played since, missing 17 contests.

"It was pretty evident we missed him," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

The coach said that it would be determined at the morning skate Wednesday if Zaitsev will be in the lineup for the game as Toronto plays for the first time since the All-Star break. >> Read more

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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a third period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a third period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson)

The Islanders have activated Andrew Ladd and placed Shane Prince on IR (retroactive to Jan. 18), the team announced Wednesday.

Ladd, 32, has been out since Jan. 5 due to an upper-body injury. He has nine goals and nine assists in 42 games this season.

Prince, 25, has not played since Jan. 18 due to an undisclosed injury, has one goal and one assist in 12 games this season. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Shane Prince
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Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad (27) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 30, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad (27) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Panthers kept the Islanders off the board through the first two periods and held on for a 4-1 win on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center.  << Box score

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