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NYHN: Islanders Kick Off Series With Bruins on Saturday & More

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The New York Islanders had their matchup. Now they have a date and a time for Game 1 against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders are showing that last year’s postseason run was no fluke and that they deserve to be in the playoffs. These stories and more in today’s daily links!

The NHL has confirmed Boston Hockey Now and NYI Hockey Now reports that the Boston Bruins will host the New York Islanders at TD Garden in Game 1 Saturday night at 8 PM ET.  (NYI Hockey Now)

The question of whether or not the New York Islanders run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year was a fluke is slowly being answered. And for anyone still having doubts, the Isles gave them plenty to think about with their 5-3 Game 6 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and their 4-2 series win over a team everyone favored over them. (NYI Hockey Now)

Remarkably, the Islanders are facing their second-round opponent, the Bruins, for just the third time in their playoff history and for the first time in 38 years. The Islanders have won both previous series, both en route to the Stanley Cup. The Islanders beat the Bruins in five games in a fight-filled quarterfinal series in 1980 and in six games in 1983. Here’s a position-by-position look at the Islanders and Bruins. (Newsday)

When rookie right wing Oliver Wahlstrom was checked heavily and awkwardly into the wall by Pittsburgh defenseman Mike Matheson in Game 5 and then couldn’t play in Game 6, Trotz decided Travis Zajac was the best of his options to enter the lineup in Wahlstrom’s place. And he was as he is played his best game since becoming an Islander. (Newsday)

The Islanders and the Bruins, their second-round playoff opponent, had an odd eight-game season series, with the first four games at Nassau Coliseum — all tied entering the third period — and then four in Boston. The Islanders went 5-2-1, but the Bruins were the more dominant team after acquiring Taylor Hall from the Sabres on April 12, giving them a strong second line to support their “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. (NHL)

Ilya Sorokin celebrated with his New York Islanders teammates at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday after they advanced to the Stanley Cup Second Round. For Sorokin and the Islanders, it was a moment seven years in the making. And there could be more moments to come. Sorokin may have surpassed Semyon Varlamov as the No. 1 option and could start Game 1 of the second-round series against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday. (NHL)

Did Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall force his way out of Buffalo and to the Bruins? Was the Hall trade to the Boston Bruins and how he became a Bruin a sign that NHL players are about to approach NBA status and dictate their way out of town when things aren’t going their way? (Boston Hockey Now)

With some irony, acquiring an older player struggling through another losing season may have been the missing piece for the Pittsburgh Penguins to keep Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang together for at least one more year, if not more. Jeff Carter changes the Pittsburgh Penguins calculus. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Max Pacioretty hasn’t been seen in a game for the Vegas Golden Knights since May 1 against the Arizona Coyotes, when he went down with what has been termed an upper-body injury during the game. Pacioretty would miss the last six regular-season games, and despite being called things like “day-to-day” and a “game-time decision” hasn’t appeared in the playoffs either. He did not make the trip to Minnesota for Game Six against the Wild. But after yesterday’s morning skate, Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer did offer a little glimpse into the situation. (Vegas Hockey Now)

People have a faulty notion about the smarts of hockey players. It is a standard view that players or even sports enthusiasts cannot excel in their studies. Well, that is a very wrong impression for there are several players who have excelled in their academic records.  While it is true that becoming a sports person requires incredible practice from a very young age, that does not imply that you cannot hold good grades. Thus, we have compiled a list of smartest players in NHL history – and we’re leaving out quite a few here on this list. (Colorado Hockey Now)

It’s not every day that an NHL head coach says this about a second-year player. “I think one day,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said about Mario Ferraro, “you’re going to see him wearing a letter here in San Jose.” (San Jose Hockey Now)

Nick Suzuki scored 59 seconds into overtime, and the Montreal Canadiens recovered for a 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. Suzuki won it with a one-timer on a 2-on-0 with Cole Caufield after a turnover by forward Alex Galchenyuk at the opposite blue line to extend the best-of-7 series. (NHL)

Sebastian Aho scored his second goal of the game at 1:06 of overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a series-ending 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. Aho redirected a shot from Jaccob Slavin from the top of the left circle. (NHL)

The Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Second Round. Tampa Bay, the No. 3 seed in the Discover Central Division, eliminated the No. 2 seed Florida Panthers in six games of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champion. (NHL)

Peter DeBoer made an interesting comment about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup First Round, considering how the Vegas Golden Knights got here against the Minnesota Wild. “I think we’ve done a good job so far of pushing this to a one-game opportunity in our home rink, and we’ve got to take advantage of that,” the Vegas coach said Thursday. A good job? (NHL)

Jake Muzzin had a defiant tone in his voice when asked how the Toronto Maple Leafs will rebound from a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round Thursday. “We’ll be all right,” the defenseman said sternly. (NHL)

The Nashville Predators were proud of their effort in their best-of-7 series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup First Round that ended with a 4-3 overtime defeat in Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. “There’s a lot of optimism around there,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “We just hung with the [third-best] team. (NHL)

The NHL released a statement in response to the hateful, racially focused comments directed toward defenseman Ethan Bear in the wake of the Edmonton Oilers’ elimination from the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday. “Ethan Bear represents both our game and his Indigenous heritage with dignity and pride,” the NHL said. “He, and all people from Indigenous backgrounds, deserve to feel empowered and respected on and off the ice. We stand with Ethan and his family in denouncing hate.” (NHL)

John Tavares is back on the ice. The Maple Leafs’ captain took part in a light skating session on Thursday morning at Scotiabank Arena, just hours before Toronto will try to eliminate Montreal in Game 5 of its first-round playoff series. It was exactly one week ago that Tavares was stretchered off the ice midway through the first period of Game 1, having suffered a knee injury and concussion in successive collisions with Ben Chiarot and Corey Perry. (TSN)

Jim Rutherford may be ready to return to work in an NHL front office. Sports agency PBI Sports announced on Twitter on Thursday that it now represents the Hall of Fame executive, who stepped down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins in January. (TSN)

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