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NYHN Daily: Islanders Look Ahead to Second Game of Series & More

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The Islanders look to take a 2-0 series lead as they face the Penguins in Game 2 tonight at 7:30 PM EST on NBCSN. Islanders no. 1 netminder Semyon Varlamov attended optional practice on Monday, but his availability for Game 2 is unknown. The Islanders had a few players who made their playoff debuts against the Penguins eight years ago. These stories and more in today’s NYHN Daily:

Semyon Varlamov was on the ice for the New York Islanders optional practice at PPG Paints Arena on Monday. Whether he’ll be suited up and on the ice for Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins is a different matter. (NYI Hockey Now)

When the puck drops for Game 2 of the New York Islanders First Round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it will be Matt Martin’s 62nd career playoff game, Josh Bailey’s 54th, and Casey Cizkas’s 52nd game of his career in the postseason. But flashback eight years ago when these two teams met for the first time in postseason play since 1993 and it was their first taste of the playoffs. (NYI Hockey Now)

The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings have been the two most-linked teams to Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel on the NHL Trade market. Still, multiple sources tell OTR that the Arizona Coyotes have gone from a dark horse to a serious contender to acquire the disgruntled star center. This story and more in the latest edition of Off The Record. (NYI Hockey Now)

You know those position-by-position analyses sportswriters have produced before postseason series since around the time the first Stanley Cup playoff was held in 1894? They generally prove irrelevant or inaccurate once the games are played. But not always. Consider the current first-round series between the Islanders and Penguins. It widely was assumed before it started that the Islanders had the edge in goaltending. Then Game 1 confirmed that, in the extreme. (Newsday)

The Islanders have long struggled for consistency on their power play. It can still improve in this first-round series against the Penguins with Game 2 on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. But the man advantage got off to a very rocky start in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 1. (Newsday)

It was a relaxed Monday for the Islanders between Games 1 and 2 of their first-round series against the Penguins. The intensity will return on Tuesday night as the Islanders have a chance to return to Nassau Coliseum with a commanding series lead after winning Game 1, 4-3, in overtime on Sunday afternoon. The trick is remaining on the desired even keel given the opportunity ahead of them. (Newsday)

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand isn’t exactly a newcomer when it comes to OT heroics or Stanley Cup playoff goals, so he knew exactly what to do when he scored the game-winner in a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 2 at Capital One Arena. (Boston Hockey Now)

Some questions are best asked rhetorically. Is Barry Trotz in the Penguins’ head? Sullivan would be correct to bristle at such a notion, but there is also no denying the Pittsburgh Penguins have lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games, including the last seven against Barry Trotz teams. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Sam Bennett will not be available to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night after the center was suspended one game by the NHL for his hit on Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman on Sunday night. Bennett, who came to the Panthers from Calgary at the trade deadline, will serve his suspension during Game 2 on Tuesday night. (Florida Hockey Now)

Sean Couturier fought through injuries for another strong season as the Philadelphia Flyers’ first-line center. It wasn’t quite a Selke-worthy campaign again, but Couturier played well considering the circumstances. His contract only has one more year on it, so it’s going to be imperative that the Flyers improve and get him signed. (Philly Hockey Now)

Well, that was fun wasn’t it? “Spin me back down, to the days of my youth”, Jethro Tull once sang (look it up, kids). I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic tonight at the Avalanche vs. Blues Game 1 of the playoffs tonight. Maybe you older fans felt the same way too. (Colorado Hockey Now)

Rudolfs Balcers told Sportacentrs’ Ulvis Brože last week that he’s began contract negotiations with the San Jose Sharks. The 24-year-old RFA enjoyed a breakout campaign this season after San Jose claimed him on waivers in January, posting eight goals and 17 points in 41 games. (San Jose Hockey Now)

Jordan Staal scored two goals for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at PNC Arena on Monday. (NHL)

Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals in the third period for the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Ball Arena on Monday. (NHL)

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser was promoted to senior director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, and Danielle Goyette was hired as director of player development. (NHL)

The Panthers and Lightning have long been considered rivals only because they play in the same state.  Things are changing. The two Florida-based teams are playing each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. The buzz in each market is palpable, according to the people there, and the hope is this series will help create a true rivalry that can spread the word about hockey in Florida to a bigger audience. (NHL)

Mike Smith wants to look forward, not back, when it comes to opportunities in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 39-year-old goalie will try to make the most of his chance this time around as the likely starter for the Edmonton Oilers when they play the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Rogers Place on Wednesday. (NHL)

Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher returned to the minor leagues on Monday for a one-off appearance in an effort to get up to game speed ahead of the NHL playoffs. Price and Gallagher, who have both been sidelined with injuries, suited up with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket in a 2-0 loss against the Toronto Marlies. (TSN)

The longest point drought Auston Matthews experienced this year was three games. It happened just once, in early March, after he returned from a wrist injury. The Leafs centre was a model of consistency during an explosive regular season, which saw him lead the NHL with 41 goals.  So, you can understand why Matthews is eager to get back to work and stay in a rhythm. For now, though, he and the rest of the Leafs can only watch the Stanley Cup playoffs. (TSN)

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