The New York Islanders defeated the Boston Bruins on Thursday night by a score of 3-1. Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov picked up his first of the 2021-22 season, while all four lines were rolling in a rather strong performance.
These stories and more in today’s daily links!
New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov needed a win in the worst possible way. After failing to record a win in his first six starts of the 2021-22 NHL season, Varlamov accomplished that feat Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. Varlamov’s first win of the season, on home ice, served as a major confidence boost, as he looks to rewrite his season story. (NYI Hockey Now)
There were a lot of positives to take from the Islanders win over the Bruins Thursday night. The Islanders saw their identity line put together another strong performance. The second line, of Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey bounced back following a weak performance against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. And for the first time all season, Oliver Wahlstrom was slotted in on the top line and played quite well. Here are the takeaways from the win. (NYI Hockey Now)
The Islanders may have not played a full sixty-minute effort on Thursday night, but it was rather close. Cal Clutterbuck got the Islanders on the board first, with Anthony Beauvillier giving the Islanders a two-goal cushion early in the second. Semyon Varlamov stopped 40 of the 41 shots that came his way, as the Islanders picked up their second consecutive win on home ice, for the first time in UBS Arena history. Here is the rapid reaction to Thursday night’s win. (NYI Hockey Now)
The Islanders have not lived up to expectations this season. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic spoke with Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello to discuss the state of his team, the COVID outbreak from early in the season, and how that has impacted the performance of the roster as a whole. Lamoriello made it clear that even with COVID-19 issues, the 13-game road trip to start the season and the injuries so far, there is still an expectation for this group, despite where they currently rank in the Metropolitan Division standings. (NYI Hockey Now)
A COVID-ridden Boston Bruins team fell 3-1 to the New York Islanders Thursday night. Since Monday morning, the Bruins had seven players go into COVID protocol prior to the 7:35 PM ET faceoff against the Islanders in their first-ever game at the brand new UBS Arena. Without key players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the odds were stacked against the Bruins and while they gave a valiant effort, this was easy money for anyone who bet the Islanders. (Boston Hockey Now)
Back on Nov. 16, the Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on home ice. But it was not from a lack of effort as they outshot Buffalo 20 to three, but mustered just one goal. That was the Penguins third consecutive loss and one that was talked about at the time. With the Sabres back in town Friday, Pittsburgh Hockey Now tried to job the memory of head coach Mike Sullivan, who was not playing along. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Washington Capitals will be shorthanded yet again when they take on the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. After entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, Evgeny Kuznetsov will head back to D.C. and will not travel to Winnipeg. Per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, the team arranged for No. 92 to return home, and he does not have to quarantine in Chicago. Nic Dowd and Trevor Van Riemsdyk, as despite playing Wednesday, are unable to cross the border into Canada. (Washington Hockey Now)
After a brutal loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, the Florida Panthers fell to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, by a score of 4-1. Due to COVID-19 as well as injuries and other illnesses, Florida played with half their starting lineup. And it showed, especially with only 16 players hitting the ice, as they dropped their third straight contest. (Florida Hockey Now)
Jimmy Howard is back in the NHL. The former Detroit Red Wings netminder is taking over the role of director of player development with Gold Star Hockey. That’s part of the Gold Star Sports Management Group, whose CEO is agent Dan Milstein. “Jimmy achieved every benchmark of advancement that today’s player strives for,” Milstein said. “He will work closely with our staff and clients across the world to help their development.” (Detroit Hockey Now)
The losing streak is over. The Montreal Canadiens snapped their seven-game skid as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the shootout. Despite the Bell Centre being a ghost town due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Quebec and across the country, the Habs outplayed their opponent. Here are the takeaways from the win in Montreal. (Montreal Hockey Now)
It got chippy at the end, but the Vegas Golden Knights were able to hold on to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 on Thursday night. Vegas dominated play until a late push by the Devils. In the dying seconds of the contest, Devils’ Mason Geersten went after Alex Pietrangelo just to stir the pot, which led to netminder Robin Lehner removing his helmet, glove, and blocker as he was inching to fight. Here’s the game story from a wild night in Newark. (Vegas Hockey Now)
The Colorado Avalanche, like many teams, have been hit hard with the COVID virus. Head coach Jared Bednar is not just frustrated with that, but sounded rather frustrated with the NHL’s COVID policy, as it seems there isn’t a clear set of rules to follow. Their opponents on Thursday, the Nashville Predators added more players to COVID protocol. The Avalanche added a handful of their own, including pulling Jack Johnson off the ice in the first period, only to let him return later. This cannot continue like this. (Colorado Hockey Now)
The San Jose Sharks fell to the surging Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Thursday night. Sharks netminder Adin Hill failed to come up with a big save in the contest as the Sharks fell to a team dealing with a whirlwind of COVID issues. Here’s how it happened. (San Jose Hockey Now)
The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth win in a row as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Thursday night. Even with five defensemen following an in-game injury, the Canucks backend battled hard. The Sharks dominated play at times but Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko stood tall to keep his team ahead. This group seems to have a high level of confidence right now as nothing can stop them from collecting two points on a nightly basis. Here are the takeaways from the win. (Vancouver Hockey Now)