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NYHN Daily: Identity Line Shining for Islanders This Postseason & More

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The New York Islanders are back in action tonight as they host the Boston Bruins for Game 3. The Islanders’ identity line has, well, been just that this postseason as they have been a spark. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that he is likely to go with the same lineup tonight that we have seen in the first two games. These stories and more in today’s daily links!

When it comes to players associated with a team’s identity, it’s hard to find a closer correlation than Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck have with the New York Islanders brand. Dubbed the identity line, their hard-nosed, gritty, blue-collar style of play has not only become the face of what Islanders hockey has come to mean, but it has endeared themselves to an entire fanbase. Casey Cizikas put an emphasis on that with his overtime dagger in Game 2. (NYI Hockey Now)

Don’t expect any changes to the New York Islanders lineup on Thursday, at least that was what head coach Barry Trotz was trying to convey following the team’s practice on Wednesday. The Islanders’ lines were the same at practice as they had been in Game 1 and Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. All three goaltenders also practiced on Wednesday at Northwell Health Ice Center. (NYI Hockey Now)

Michael Grabner caught the overtime winner for the Islanders in Game 2 of their second-round series the other night on television. Grabner, sitting at his home in Arizona, saw the big smile on Casey Cizikas’ face after the Islanders center scored the game-winner to even the series. He thought back to nearly a decade ago, when Grabner and Cizikas were young Islanders just finding their footing in the league. (The Athletic)

It would be absurd to suggest that nearly filling Nassau Coliseum with 12,000 fans on Thursday night is anything other than a good thing. It is a great thing, actually, for community morale, for business, for television optics, for . . . fun! But what about the 20 people who matter most to Islanders fans for Game 3 of a second-round playoff series against the Bruins – the Islanders themselves? (Newsday)

It looks like the Boston Bruins will get a little closer to full roster strength as they head into Long Island for the all-important middle games of their playoff series against the New York Islanders. Right winger Craig Smith (lower body) was back practicing at his usual second line spot during Wednesday’s practice at Warrior ice Arena and getting reps on the second power play unit, a couple of unmistakable signs that it’s looking promising for him to play in Game 3 on Thursday night. (Boston Hockey Now)

Bad news for Pittsburgh Penguins fans who want to see Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang in different uniforms next season, and good news for others, including Letang, who want to stick around. Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was fairly definitive in his season-ending press conference on Wednesday. Sorry, Letang and Malkin detractors. The Penguins core will more than likely be back. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Want Some Florida Panthers Artifacts? Upper Deck and Florida Hockey Now is hooking you up! Upper Deck has gifted National Hockey Now a box of 2020-21 Upper Deck Artifacts — and we’re going to give them to you! It’s our thanks to you for subscribing to Florida Hockey Now. (Florida Hockey Now)

The Detroit Red Wings didn’t lose ground at the NHL draft lottery, staying at No. 6 for July 23-24 draft. Last season, the Red Wings had worst record. But they fell from No. 1 to No. 4 at the lottery and took Swedish standout Lucas Raymond.  In 2019, the Red Wings dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 and took Moritz Seider. TSN.ca now lists Seider as the NHL’s No. 1 prospect. (Detroit Hockey Now)

The Vegas Golden Knights needed a period to find their legs. Then, for 40 minutes, they bombarded the Colorado Avalanche with shots, hits and Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer made saves and coughed up rebounds. It seemed like Golden Knights’ game. Until Reilly Smith took a penalty just 45 seconds into OT and Mikko Rantanen (3) ripped a top-shelf wrister over Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for the OT game-winner Wednesday night at Ball Arena. (Vegas Hockey Now)

Want to see how the sausage is made sometimes? OK, since this is my site and I make the rules…I had a story written that had the Vegas Golden Knights winning Game 2. It felt like it was headed that way, and I wanted to have something ready to roll soon after the final horn. But NO, I get to write something instead, like….Avalanche victory in Game 2, 3-2 in overtime. Mikko Rantanen with the pinpoint laser of a wrist shot from the left circle, on the power play, wins it. (Colorado Hockey Now)

The San Jose Sharks aren’t going anywhere in the 2021 NHL Draft. After tonight’s Draft lottery, they will be picking No. 7 in the first round of the Draft on July 23rd. They came into tonight with the seventh-best odds of winning the lottery. (San Jose Hockey Now)

The Buffalo Sabres have the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after winning the NHL Draft Lottery on Wednesday. The Seattle Kraken won the No. 2 pick, and the Anaheim Ducks have the No. 3 pick. (NHL)

The Montreal Canadiens scored three goals in the first period, including twice in the opening 5:10, before hanging on for a 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Bell MTS Place on Wednesday. (NHL)

Jake Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher late in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round between the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. The Canadiens forward was injured with 57 seconds remaining when he was hit by Jets forward Mark Scheifele after wrapping the puck into an empty net. (NHL)

Mitchell Marner will not be part of any potential roster changes the Toronto Maple Leafs will look at during the offseason, general manager Kyle Dubas said Wednesday. The forward and Auston Matthews combined to score one goal, by Matthews, in Toronto’s 4-3 elimination by the Montreal Canadiens in their best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round. (NHL)

The Seattle Kraken have the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after moving up in the NHL Draft Lottery on Wednesday.”We’re very happy about this outcome,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. The expansion team, which will begin play next season, had the third-best odds (10.3 percent) of winning the No. 1 pick, which went to the Buffalo Sabres, who had the best odds (16.6 percent). The Anaheim Ducks, who had the second-best odds (12.1 percent), have the No. 3 pick. (NHL)

The Winnipeg Jets found a bumpy road on their way back to playoff sharpness, losing 5-3 to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Second Round on Wednesday. The Jets had not played since May 24, when they eliminated the Edmonton Oilers with a 4-3 triple-overtime victory in Game 4 of the first round. They fell behind 3-1 in the first period and could never get even against the Canadiens, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series Monday. (NHL)

The Maple Leafs have run out of excuses for their postseason shortcomings. Perhaps it’s because losing has become all too familiar. When Toronto fell to Montreal in Game 7 of its first-round playoff series on Monday, it was the fourth time in five years that the Leafs had been jettisoned from the opening round, and third time it happened in a decisive Game 7. (TSN)

 

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