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NYHN Daily: Islanders Must Start Fresh Against Penguins & More

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The Islanders have one more day to mentally and physically prepare for their first-round matchup with the Penguins, which begins tomorrow at 12 pm EST. If things do not change from the regular season to the playoffs, the Islanders are going to have a tough time doing anything this postseason. With the regular season completed, let’s hand out some awards. These stories and more in today’s daily links!

The old adage is everything is forgotten once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. If you’re one of the lucky teams that qualify, it becomes a season unto itself in many ways as the intensity gets turned up to an 11 and the real battle begins. That has been the mantra of New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz in these final weeks of the season. (NYI Hockey Now)

The New York Islanders had an interesting season, to say the least. Another significant injury led to subpar play, but a point-streak and dominant records against the bottom-feeders in the East Division saw them punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season. Let’s hand out some regular-season awards. (NYI Hockey Now)

Sidney Crosby has not been kind to the Islanders in the course of his Hall of Fame career. And while the Islanders-Penguins first-round series, which opens Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, will not be determined by one player, even one as great as Crosby, trying to contain No. 87 must be at the top of the Islanders’ priorities. (Newsday)

Carsyn Volpe, a 12-year old battling cancer, is going to an Islanders playoff game at Nassau Coliseum next week. Carsyn got a surprise visit from Sparky, the Islanders’ mascot, and co-owner Jon Ledecky, who brought plenty of team swag along with an invitation to attend Game 3 or 4. (Newsday)

Just as quickly as Ondrej Kase flashed as a Boston Bruins playoff possibility with his appearance at the end of the regular season, it now appears like that door is going to be shut again for a while. (Boston Hockey Now)’

In our full series preview, PHN predicted the Penguins beat the Islanders in six games. The oddsmakers are also installing the Penguins as a solid favorite to win Game One and the series. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

The Philadelphia Flyers are at a crossroads after failing to meet expectations this season. Nolan Patrick is one of a few players that could be on the move. (Philly Hockey Now)

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar is not winning the Norris Trophy this season. Weegar may not even finish in the top five of voting. The fact that it is even being brought up as a possibility just shows what kind of a player Weegar has evolved into. (Florida Hockey Now)

Th Presidents’ Trophy was a very nice accomplishment for an Avalanche team that had the usual glut of injuries, not to mention two lengthy pauses in the schedule because of Covid-19 protocol. However in the season finale, defenseman Conor Timmins left in the third and his status is unknown at the time. (Colorado Hockey Now)

There might be no San Jose Sharks forward who’s more of an X-factor for the team’s success next year than Timo Meier. You feel pretty comfortable guessing what Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture will bring. But Meier – does he come back to his 30-goal form from years ago or struggle like he has the last two seasons – could be the difference between the playoffs and the lottery. (San Jose Hockey Now)

Alex Ovechkin’s expiring contract might have been the dominant story for the Washington Capitals at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if he were another player on another team. He is not worried in the slightest that a deal will get done following postseason play. (NHL)

NHL.com staff members have made their predictions for the Stanley Cup First Round and Playoffs, and most believe the Honda West Division representative will win it all. (NHL)

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs features 16 teams in eight division-based best-of-7 series, which start Saturday. Today, NHL.com previews the Stanley Cup First Round between the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. (NHL)

Auston Matthews finished the season with an NHL-high 41 goals after not scoring in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday. (NHL)

Normal? No, the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs will not be normal. Not quite. The coronavirus pandemic is not over. But there are signs normalcy is returning, like green shoots in spring. (NHL)

Nikita Kucherov said he recognizes it might take him time to get up to speed making his season debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup First Round. “I have to adjust real quick and try to slow down the game as much as I can, use my skill and my head to think the game and make the plays,” the forward said. “I’ll adjust to the speed as the series goes on. Hopefully it’s not going to take long.” (NHL)

Connor McDavid will not sit out the final regular-season game for the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday even though the Oilers are locked into their Stanley Cup Playoff matchup and the center has all but clinched the NHL scoring title. (NHL)

The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs start Saturday and NHL.com is taking a look at different types of players who can have a big impact on the postseason. Today, veteran players in the 2021 playoffs who have played the most games without winning a Stanley Cup. Joe Thornton said he signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 16 because he wanted to be an NHL champion. (NHL)

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs features 16 teams in eight division-based best-of-7 series, which start Saturday. Here are the matchups and four storylines to follow in each division throughout the Stanley Cup First Round. (NHL)

Dallas Stars center Roope Hintz will have surgery next week in New York to repair a tendon issue in his groin area that bothered him throughout the season while he was a point-a-game player. (TSN)

Do the Winnipeg Jets have an answer for Connor McDavid? Rarely can you boil a playoff series down to a single data point, but the Edmonton Oilers – and Connor McDavid – may be an exception to the rule. Understandably so. McDavid went supernova all season long, and as the McDavid line goes, so go the Oilers. (TSN)

Defenceman Artem Zub has signed a two-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Friday the deal is worth $5 million, carrying an annual cap hit of $2.5 million. Zub will earn $1.75 million in 2021-22 and $3.25 million in 2022-23. (TSN)

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