The New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues earned some noteworthy wins on Thursday, especially relative to what previous Islanders and Blues teams have done.
The Blues set the best point streak of their long franchise history when they beat the Buffalo Sabres tonight, as they’re 12-0-1 in their last 13 games. They’ve also won seven straight.
That win prompted head coach Ken Hitchcock to set a fake record for taking the most circuitous route to describing a player as “clutch” when he praised Vladimir Tarasenko (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford):
So, basically he’s clutch.
Anyway, the Islanders broke a three-game losing streak and ended the Philadelphia Flyers’ four-game winning run via a shootout victory tonight. They also tied their best start in 51 games played as they’ve won 33 times, tying a mark they set during the beginning of their golden era in 1978-79.
It seems like both teams are the best their franchises have seen in quite some time.
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to look like one of the East’s better teams, but that status could be threatened if they continue to see defensemen go down with injuries.
Jason Garrison is the latest to suffer an ailment, as Bryan Burns of the Lightning’s website reports that he won’t return after suffering a lower-body injury against the Dallas Stars tonight.
It’s unclear how bad the issue might be overall, but the Bolts must hope that it’s minor, as Radko Gudas and Matt Carle are also on the shelf.
Burns points out that towering center Brian Boyle was taking a shift or two on defense, which actually brought about early returns as he was involved in a 4-3 goal for Tampa Bay:
The bright side for the Lightning is that it looks like they’ll win 5-3. In a tense battle for Atlantic Division supremacy, these mounting injuries could really smart.
Also, this happened:
The Los Angeles Kings are well beyond the point of needing a “wake-up call” and could very well be in a full-blown crisis.
Marian Gaborik gave the Kings a 2-1 lead 2:19 into the third period on Thursday, yet they didn’t even earn a standings point. Instead, the Panthers scored two goals to win 3-2, giving Florida two straight wins and the Kings a third consecutive defeat.
Things get way uglier if you zoom out and check out the big picture for Los Angeles.
Since 2015 rolled around, the Kings only have three wins. Since Dec. 29, they’re 3-6-4.
They haven’t generated a single point in the first three games of a five-game road trip that continues in Tampa Bay on Saturday and ends in Columbus on Monday.
Yeah, there are a lot of bad ways to frame it beyond those meat-and-potatoes numbers:
The Kings are seated at 54 standings points in 51 games with more road contests than home games remaining (not great for a team that’s now 5-12-6 away from the Staples Center).
Check out this video of PHT’s Jason Brough and Mike Halford breaking down the Kings’ woes for more on the embattled defending champs: