Isles’ top line leaves Rangers coach impressed


The New York Islanders came back from a 3-1 deficit for the second straight night to eventually beat the New York Rangers 5-3, ending their rivals’ winning streak at three games. They also left Alain Vigneault quite impressed, as he noted that “they made us pay.”

While Vigneault described it as a hard-fought game, Ryan Callahan wasn’t happy with the Rangers’ overall effort.

An opportunity for the Islanders

The general consensus among Rangers players was that they had an off-night, but the Islanders deserve credit for a job well done. They also might just make a jump, at least if their upcoming schedule is any indication.

While they’re playing tough teams to finish off the month, the schedule could still be lucrative for the Isles. They play four games in a row at home, two manageable road games and then play two more contests at Nassau Colisseum before the Olympic break. They also get three straight home games on Long Island once the break is over, so they could enter March by making some gains if they keep fighting.

We’ll see if that’s enough to push for a playoff spot – and maybe entice Thomas Vanek a little more – though.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.