Jack Capuano

Snow’s loyalty to Capuano could be tested

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Did the New York Islanders’ 3-2 overtime loss to Washington on Saturday mark progress?

Probably depends how you look at it.

On the one hand, the Isles got a point for their effort, and that’s better than they’d managed in their previous five games, all regulation defeats.

On the other hand, the Isles allowed Washington to tie the game, shorthanded with the net empty, with less than a minute to go. In that way, it felt like New York lost a much-needed point, as opposed to gaining one.

Embattled head coach Jack Capuano decided to see things in a positive light.

“Guys worked hard tonight,” he said. “I thought they were focused and this was a step in the right direction… It’s just very frustrating that it had to end this way.”

Capuano, as those who’ve attended recent Isles’ home games can attest, has become a major focus for the fans’ frustrations:

However, general manager Garth Snow is reportedly not ready to make a coaching change, instead choosing to stay loyal to the man who guided New York to the playoffs last season.

That loyalty could be in for a serious test in the next week and a bit. Tonight, the Isles host a Pittsburgh side that’s won six of its last eight games. After that, they head out on practically the toughest five-game road trip one could draw up, with visits to St. Louis, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and Phoenix.

In November of 2010, it took a 10-game winless streak for Snow to fire Scott Gordon and install Capuano.

Given the schedule, a 10-game winless streak isn’t out of the question for the current version of the Isles.

Related: Tavares has ‘all the faith in the world’ in coach Capuano

Gostisbehere sets new rookie record in OT loss to Devils

Philadelphia Flyers' Shayne Gostisbehere reacts after scoring the first goal of his career during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.

With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.

Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.

Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:

Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.

It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.

The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.

To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.

Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:

standings

After missing two games because of an illness, Panarin will return to ‘Hawks lineup

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates after scoring an empty-net goal on an assist from Patrick Kane against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won 3-1. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
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CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.

Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.

The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.

Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

He’ll miss at least another week.

Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

Some Twitter reaction to the goal: