Michael Dal Colle

Pageau makes quite the Islanders debut with fight, goal

2 Comments

Time will tell if the Islanders will be glad that they invested so much in Jean-Gabriel Pageau. If nothing else, Pageau made quite the first impression in his Islanders debut on Tuesday.

Pageau didn’t just score a goal against the hated Rangers. The feisty forward also responded to a questionable Jacob Trouba hit on Michael Dal Colle by fighting the much larger Rangers defenseman. A fight and a fluky goal? That’s quite the way to endear yourself to new fans.

Check out the goal below, and watch the hit and fight in the video above this post’s headline.

Pageau collected his 25th goal of 2019-20, which again was his first with the Isles.

It’s surprising that Trouba didn’t get whistled for a penalty on this hit. Credit Pageau for sticking up for his new Islanders teammate, though:

Again, the Islanders gave up a lot for Pageau, and then doubled-down by handing him a hefty extension. That said, Pageau strikes as very much both a Lou Lamoriello guy and a Barry Trotz guy, and that showed right off the bat.

Pageau ended up getting tossed from the game following the fight and instigator penalty.

The Rangers won 4-3, but the Islanders rallied to get a point in a memorable Pageau debut by forcing the game to overtime.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: Flyers visit Islanders on NBCSN

Getty Images

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

With their win last night, the Flyers moved into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They are just one point behind the Islanders, who sit third in the Metro. The Islanders moved into third place in the Metro with their win over the division-leading Capitals last night. They are looking to make the playoffs for the second straight season under Barry Trotz after reaching the Second Round last year.

The Flyers have alternated missing and making the playoffs in each of the past seven seasons. Last season, Philadelphia finished 16 points outside the playoffs but have turned things around under new head coach Alain Vigneault, who led each of his previous two teams (Vancouver and New York Rangers) to the Stanley Cup Final.

After going 13 games without a goal, Flyers captain Claude Giroux has now scored in two straight games. With three points (1G-2A) in Saturday’s win against Washington, Giroux reached 800 points for his NHL career (now 801 points in 876 games). He is the 4th player in Flyers history to reach 800 points.

This is the first of a three-game road trip for the Flyers, facing the Islanders tonight before heading down to Florida to take on the Panthers and Lightning. The Flyers have recently improved their play on the road, winning two straight road games and taking points in each of their last five on the road (3-0-2).

This game will be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the Islanders continue to split their home games with Nassau Coliseum. Despite the complaints from both fans and players, the Islanders have been excellent at the Barclays Center recently. They’ve not lost in regulation in Brooklyn this season (6-0-3).

The Islanders have continued to rotate Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov in net. With Greiss earning the win last night against Washington, it looks to be Varlamov’s turn tonight. While the two have had almost identical numbers this season, Varlamov has struggled as of late, losing seven of his last nine starts (2-6-1).

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

WHAT: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders
WHERE: Barclays Center
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Islanders-Flyers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

FLYERS
Claude Giroux – Sean CouturierJakub Voracek
Joel FarabeeKevin HayesTravis Konecny
James van RiemsdykScott LaughtonTyler Pitlick
Michael RafflConnor BunnamanNicolas Aube-Kubel

Ivan ProvorovMatt Niskanen
Travis SanheimPhilippe Myers
Robert HaggJustin Braun

Starting goalie: Brian Elliott

ISLANDERS
Anders LeeMathew BarzalJordan Eberle
Anthony BeauvillierBrock NelsonJosh Bailey
Kiefer Bellows – Derick BrassardMichael Dal Colle
Matt MartinCasey CizikasLeo Komarov

Devon ToewsRyan Pulock
Nick LeddyJohnny Boychuk
Noah DobsonScott Mayfield

Starting goalie: Semyon Varlamov

Brendan Burke and Brian Boucher will call the action at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Kathryn Tappen will anchor studio coverage alongside analysts Patrick Sharp and Ben Lovejoy.

Islanders turn to top prospect Bellows to help boost offense

With just six wins in their past 17 games and one of the lowest scoring offenses among playoff teams, the New York Islanders need some kind of a spark. A trade seems like a must before the deadline if they are going to fix their biggest Achilles heel (offense), but before that happens they are turning to an internal option in an effort to boost their offense.

The option is top prospect and 2016 first-round draft pick Kieffer Bellows.

After being recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Monday, Islanders coach Barry Trotz that Bellows will make his regular season NHL debut on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.

It is expected that he will skate on the team’s third line alongside Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Colle. He has 16 goals in 45 games with Bridgeport so far this season. While that may not seem like a huge number, he has been white hot over the past few weeks with 13 goals in his past 20 games.

The Islanders desperately need some of that to carry over to the NHL because the offense is among the bottom-10 in pretty much every category across the board.

• Entering play on Tuesday the Islanders are 21st in the NHL in goals per game, after finishing 22nd in the league a year ago. Among teams currently occupying a playoff position, only the Coyotes, Stars, and Blue Jackets rank lower. Only the Stars finished the 2018-19 season lower among playoff teams.

• They are 27th in shots on goal per game, 27th in total shot attempts per game, 20th on the power play, and middle of the pack (15th, 17th) when it comes to expected goals and scoring chances.

• On an individual level, the Islanders don’t have a single player (minimum 40 games played) that ranks in the top-40 in points per game, while only two players (Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson) currently reside among the top-125.

The old cliche is that defense wins championships, but you still need to have possess the threat of offense to win the Stanley Cup. Just look at the Stanley Cup Finalists over the previous seven seasons and where they ranked across the league in goals per game, shots per game, and total shot attempts per game.

With the exception of the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues, every team on here ranks in the top-10 in at least one (and sometimes two) of these areas.

The only two teams that reached the Stanley Cup Final during that stretch with an offense thanked close to where the Islanders do were the 2014-15 Blackhawks and 2013-14 Kings. And with all due respect to the Islanders and what they have done the past two regular seasons, they are not those teams. The 2014-15 Blackhawks were loaded with Hall of Fame players and were always a threat to score (look where they ranked in shots and shot attempts) even if it didn’t always result in a goal.

The Kings were at the peak as the most dominant defensive and possession team in the league.

The Islanders, again, are 22nd, 27th, and 27th in these three areas. No Stanley Cup Finalist in the past seven years has ranked that poorly across the board.

That’s just not good enough if the Islanders are going to take their next step.

Bellows allow probably will not be enough to make a significant dent in that, but they have to start somewhere. Maybe this is where it begins.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Crosby leaves preseason finale with apparent foot injury

Getty Images
2 Comments

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby left the Pittsburgh Penguins’ preseason finale against Buffalo in the first period Saturday after taking a shot off his skate.

Hit by a shot from Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella, Crosby played on 6:42 before leaving. Pittsburgh forward Bryan Rust left the game after he was hit in the hand in the third period.

”They both got hit with shots,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”They are being evaluated now. We will probably have more definitive answers tomorrow morning.”

The Sabres won the game 3-2 in a shootout, with Casey Mittelstadt scoring in the sixth round.

Tage Thompson also scored for Buffalo in the shootout. Thompson’s goal in the second round drew Buffalo even, after Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang opened the round by scoring on a wrist shot. Letang was the only Penguin to score in the shootout.

Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark made 34 saves, and Marco Scandella and Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Sabres. Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins, and Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The two teams will open the regular season Thursday in Buffalo.

Islanders agree to terms with Derick Brassard on one-year deal

Getty Images
9 Comments

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — The New York Islanders agreed to terms with Derick Brassard on a one-year contract Wednesday.

Brassard, who will turn 32 on Sept. 22, had 14 goals and nine assists in 70 games last season while with Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. He also had an assist in nine playoff games with the Avalanche.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

The 23 points last season was his lowest total since he had a goal and an assist in 17 games as a rookie with Columbus in 2007-08.

For his career, Brassard has totaled 176 goals and 275 assists in 786 games while also playing for the New York Rangers and Ottawa. He also has 23 goals and 37 assists in 99 career postseason games.

For the Islanders, his fifth team in three seasons, Brassard will likely center the third line, filling the role held by Valtteri Filppula last season. Filppula signed with Detroit earlier this summer.

Forward Anthony Beauvillier remains the Islanders’ lone restricted free agent unsigned after the team agreed to deals with Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang earlier in the week