For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the New York Islanders are playoff bound.
Excessively negative folks will crow about them clinching a spot with a shootout loss (4-3 to Carolina on Tuesday), but even that defeat parallels the Isles’ successes. They finished strong and John Tavares was prominently involved.
The potential Hart Trophy candidate scored his 27th goal of 2013 at a crucial time, tying it up 3-3 with about a minute left in regulation.
While some might say that the Southeast Division champion Washington Capitals are the hottest team in the NHL, the Islanders deserve to be in that conversation. They’ve registered a standings point in every April game (8-0-3) and have really been red-hot since March 24, going 11-1-3 in their last 15 games.
If the Islanders maintain control of the sixth seed, they might just get to prove that they’re hotter than the Caps by way of a first-round series.
Merely having that conversation with the guarantee of a playoff spot has to be a sweet sensation for Isles fans.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger