The New York Islanders welcomed fan favorite Robin Lehner back to Long Island for the first time since he played for the club back in 2018-19. The Islanders fell to the Golden Knights 4-3 in a shootout. The Islanders next game against the Monreal Canadiens has been postponed. Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows picked up his first career fight in the loss. The Islanders added two players to COVID protocol ahead of Sunday’s contest.
These stories and more in today’s daily links!
Despite taking a lead late in the third period against the Golden Knights, the Islanders were unable to close out the contest as they ultimately fell 4-3 in a shootout. Kieffer Bellows picked up the go-ahead goal with 2:20 to go in the third period, but with the extra attacker, Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore forced overtime with 47.1 seconds remaining. Theodore would go on to score the winning goal in the shootout, as the Islanders picked up only a point. (NYI Hockey Now)
The Islanders scheduled contest against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday has been postponed by the NHL. With the growing concerns due to the number of COVID cases across the league, as well as the rules regarding movement along the Canadian border, all games between U.S. and Canadian teams have been postponed through the Christmas break. A decision on the NHL’s participation in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will be coming in a few days. (NYI Hockey Now)
In the second period of Sunday’s contest, Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows dropped the gloves for his first career NHL fight. After a few big hits in the Islanders zone by both Bellows and Vegas forward Max Pacioretty, Bellows stood up for himself and teammate Andy Greene as the two went at it. As Bellows left the ice, teammate Casey Cizikas gave him a hug for his actions. (NYI Hockey Now)
Minutes before the Islanders took the ice against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Islanders announced that Matt Martin and Robin Salo had been placed in COVID protocol. The pair join Mathew Barzal in protocol after he entered last Tuesday ahead of the Isles’ loss to the Detroit Red Wings. (NYI Hockey Now)
For the first time, New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom slotted in on the top line when the Islanders squared off against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. As the Islanders get set to face off against the Vegas Golden Knights today at 2 pm, let’s look back on Wahlstrom’s five-on-five play from Thursday’s 3-1 win over Boston. (NYI Hockey Now)
On Sunday, Robin Lehner returned to Long Island for the first time since being a member of the Islanders for the entire 2018-19 campaign. Despite a short stint, his time on the island changed his life. Prior to the beginning of that season, Lehner spoke on his ongoing battle with addiction and bipolar disorder in a powerful article with The Athletic. Following Vegas’ 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders, Lehner spoke on the video tribute that was played for him. “It’s so much more than hockey to me, I can’t explain it,” Lehner said. “It’s the love I have for the guys there, this team, the organization, the fans, [how] they helped me with my life.” (NHL)
The Boston Bruins were shut down this past weekend following a total of nine members of their NHL roster finding their way into COVID-19 protocol. The positive in all of this is that most of the players are dealing with rather mild symptoms per team general manager Don Sweeney. Only one player felt experienced moderate symptoms. (Boston Hockey Now)
With their 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their seventh consecutive victory. The Penguins were not at their best Sunday, but thanks to a late save by netminder Tristan Jarry. With two seconds remaining in the third period, Devils forward Andreas Johnsson was denied by Jarry on the breakaway opportunity to cap off the contest. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Washington Capitals were defeated by the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 3-2 on Sunday night. All of the Capitals’ top-six forwards, excluding Alex Ovechkin, were in COVID protocol, as the Capitals saw their depth step up. But their play was not enough in the loss. Here are the takeaways from the disappointing result. (Washington Hockey Now)
With the growing cases of COVID-19 across the NHL, a handful of teams have seen their seasons be put on pause until after the Christmas break. The NHL will need to make up the lost games and there is a two-week gap for every team due to the 2022 Winter Olympics, in which the NHL was planning on attending. But with many NHL players voicing their concern over the potential quarantine situation season in China, the rise in COVID should force NHL players out.of competing in the Olympics says Colby Guy. (Florida Hockey Now)
The Detroit Red Wings have been shut down until after the Christmas break due to their battle with COVID-19. Looking back the NHL’s decisions to allow the Red Wings to face a COVID-ravished Carolina Hurricanes team proved costly. While there is no protocol in place for an exact path to a shutdown, it seemed that the Red Wings’ nine players were enough to lead to that decision. (Detroit Hockey Now)
For the first time since he left the team back in 2019, Robin Lehner returned to the Long Island to take on the New York Islanders Sunday. The veteran NHL goaltender played one season with the Islanders in 2019-20, but it was that impacted Lehner’s life that words cannot describe. During the first media timeout in the first period, the Islanders played a tribute video showcasing the highlights of Lehner’s time on the island during that one season. (Vegas Hockey Now)
Looking ahead to this upcoming summer, the Colorado Avalanche could potentially lose the entirety of their second line to NHL free agency. Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin, and Andre Burakovsky are all potential unrestricted free agents with $55 million already committed to 12 players. With the salary cap expected to increase to $82.5 million, that only leaves $32.5 million of space. Both goaltenders Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz are also set to become unrestricted free agents. Who should the money go to? (Colorado Hockey Now)
The San Jose Sharks will not play another game before the Christmas break. Despite not having any members currently on COVID protocol, all games involving matchups between U.S. and Canadian teams have been postponed due to border concerns. The Sharks had two games had two more games scheduled before the holiday break, the first against the Vancouver Canucks and the second against the Edmonton Oilers. Due to the spread of the Omicron variant, stricter protocols have been put into place around the NHL. (San Jose Hockey Now)
Former Calgary Flames captain and current captain of the expansion Seattle Kraken Mark Giordano was preparing for his return to the Saddledome Sunday. But due to the concern with the increase in COVID cases, the NHL has postponed all games involving the need to cross the Canadian border. Regardless, the game would not have been played as the Flames have been one of the teams hit the hardest by COVID as of late. (Calgary Hockey Now)
Following a hearing with NHL Player Safety, Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly has been suspended four games for interfering with Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero. The play resulted in Kero losing consciousness and needing to be stretchered off the ice following a scary scene in Dallas. (NHL)
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