The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Remember, remember the month of November. Although that line is modified from the movie 'V for Vendetta', it very much applies to the New York Islanders, who are all too happy to move past their month of horrors and see the calendar flip to December 1.

Going back to the 2011-12 season, the 11th month of the year was not too kind to head coach Jack Capuano and his squad. New York went 4-7-2 and 4-10-1 in back-to-back full seasons, putting them firmly behind the proverbial eight ball as the season ticked past the thin red line that separates the playoffs from an early golf outing. Things seemed to improve in 2014-15 with a monster 11-3-0 month before the team tailed off yet again the following season with a mark of 7-6-1.

If you're counting at home, that's 26-26-4 over the past four full seasons heading into 2016-17. With New York just completing their November last night at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game they would will themselves to win 5-3 after surrendering a 3-0 third-period lead, it gave the Islanders a 4-5-4 mark this time around, just 46% of all possible points and only 2 regulation wins in 13 tries.

That's the big picture. With the team getting off to such a disappointing start in their first year under new owners Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin and second year in Brooklyn, you have to scale down and micro-analyze, looking for positives. And lately, there are some showing up.

Anthony Beauvillier's scoring might be down, but his play is still worthy of being in the NHL at age 19. His confidence will continue to grow as time moves forward. Brock Nelson was re-inserted on the top line with captain John Tavares and Josh Bailey last night, and the trio had a strong offensive game, producing 18 shot attempts. Scott Mayfield stepped in and did a fantastic job replacing injured Adam Pelech, producing two assists in 14:22 of competent defensive hockey. Thomas Greiss continued to be a calming influence on the entire club in front of him, never getting frustrated as a big lead evaporated in the third, instead bearing down and not letting anything else beat him the rest of the night.

Good things started to happen - not going to use the term, not going to do it - as New York benefitted from some gratuitous bounces on the Jason Chimera and Casey Cizikas goals and a rare blunder from Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray on a Johnny Boychuk blast from a bad angle along the boards. And lastly, Anders Lee continued to reap the rewards of some good old fashioned hard work, collecting his fourth goal in his last four games, putting him just shy of a 20 goal pace after 22 games played.

"At this point, this is big for us. It was an ugly third, but jeez, we won the game. We need that kind of momentum with a big game tomorrow (tonight vs Capitals). It's nice when you start a back to back with a win", Lee told the media postgame. "We have faced enough adversity I think at this point for an entire season and we've been frustrated and it's been a tough spot. We dug ourselves a hole and we need to dig ourselves out. We're sick of taking consolations. Enough of playing well, or playing Ok, and not winning."

The first two periods were the best New York has played, perhaps all season. They relentlessly forechecked the Penguins and pressured them into making mistakes, capitalizing on anything that was given to them while maintaining good gap control and mixing it up at every opportunity, especially with Patric Hornqvist, who drew the ire of Travis Hamonic on a number of occasions.

The third was an uphill battle as the defending Stanley Cup champions expectedly pushed back forcefully and the Islanders lost their structure and focus. Players forgot to backcheck, Chimera literally gave a free 'walk off the boards' pass to Justin Schultz and two Islanders went to one Penguin, allowing none other than Evgeni Malkin to stand all alone in front of Greiss on the tying goal. This will all make the game tape as mistakes made while trying to protect a 3-0 lead at home. These are mental mistakes that simply cannot happen at this juncture. It's not a new system, not a new voice either behind the bench or wearing the 'C'. Players all know their responsibilities. They have to eliminate these late game breakdowns in concentration.

At the end of the day, a win is a win. And this one came at a crucial time. It's the second straight for New York for only the second time this season and, arguably, only their third win against a real good hockey team in 22 games. They are now 3-2-0 in their last five and could have something to build on. Victories over teams like the Penguins tend to do that more so than ones over the exhausted Calgary Flames, coming off a back-to-back and ending a six-game road trip.

"That was a real good hockey team we beat, and we did it with some guys who still are not playing their best. Some players simply need to be better", head coach Jack Capuano said in his postgame press conference. He also stepped outside of his comfort zone, singling out Mayfield and Greiss as players who contributed greatly to the win and saluting the fans, saying the atmosphere "was terrific, it really does give a boost to our hockey club when the fans are that engaged".

Given what we have seen so far after the first quarter, it's hard to say what we will see tonight. An Islanders team who has turned the corner and will use this victory as a springboard to finally get their 2016-17 on track? Or more of the same inconsistency that has them at 8-10-4, to begin with? Won't be too long to find out. Check back in at around 9:30pm this evening.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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Apr 1, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders celebrates the goal by New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Apr 1, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders celebrates the goal by New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Jordan Eberle is sticking with the Islanders. 

The 29-year-old winger, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, agreed to a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension with the Islanders on Friday. The new deal will carry a $5.5 million cap hit. 

The Islanders originally traded for Eberle before the 2017-18 season in a deal that sent Ryan Strome to the Edmonton Oilers. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle
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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd have been through surgery, but they are on different recovery timelines.

After undergoing back surgery, Clutterbuck -- who had two slipped discs, two rotated vertebrae and a stress fracture -- has a good chance to be ready for training camp.

"It's my understanding he will be," Lou Lamoriello told The Athletic. "But honestly it's a process I don't know much about. He's doing well right now. I get updates all the time, he's been here. We just have to trust the process and the doctors. It turned out the way the doctors felt it would."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck
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Oct 4, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz (11) looks up during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in the overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Oct 4, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz (11) looks up during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in the overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

The Islanders announced on Friday they re-signed impending free agent Tanner Fritz to a two-year contract.

According to multiple reports, Fritz will get $700,000 next season on a one-way deal, but he'll be on a two-way deal for the 2020-21 season. He'll earn $700,000 that season in the NHL, or have a $250,000 salary in the AHL but will get $275,000 guaranteed. 

The 27-year-old forward provides depth up front for the Isles. He was thrust into a pivotal role in March as the third-line center when Valtteri Filppula went down with an elbow injury.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Although no New York-area teams made it to the Stanley Cup Final this year, the Empire State will still have a large impact on hockey's grandest stage. Twelve players from the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues have connections with the New York metro area in some way, so local fans still have plenty of reasons to tune in.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have one of the largest collections of American-born hockey players of any team in the NHL. Not surprisingly, several of them have called New York home for at least part of their careers.

Tags: Boston Bruins, Jaroslav Halak, John Moore, Marcus Johansson, Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, St. Louis Blues
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New York Islanders center Brock Nelson reacts with right wing Josh Bailey after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in Game 3 of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson reacts with right wing Josh Bailey after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in Game 3 of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders announced they re-signed forward Brock Nelson to a six-year deal on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Nelson ranked third on the team with 53 points this season, scoring 25 goals and tallying 28 assists in 82 games.

Tags: Brock Nelson
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Apr 4, 2019; Sunrise, FL, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates his game winning goal in a shootout against the Florida Panthers with left wing Anders Lee (27). Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Mayer)
Apr 4, 2019; Sunrise, FL, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates his game winning goal in a shootout against the Florida Panthers with left wing Anders Lee (27). Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Mayer)

With about a month-and-a-half remaining until the start of free agency on July 1, and just more than five weeks until the interview period, there's nothing certain yet regarding which of the Islanders' pending unrestricted free agents will be back with the team.

Mining for information from a Lou Lamoriello-run team can often be an exercise in futility. So The Athletic's Arthur Staple spoke with several outside sources to try to get a better sense of what may happen with Anders LeeBrock NelsonJordan EberleRobin Lehner and Valtteri Filppula.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Robin Lehner, Valtteri Filppula
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The Islanders face free agency 00:01:46
Lou Lamoriello, Anders Lee, Robin Lehner, and Barry Trotz look ahead to an offseason of change and growth for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders cleaned out their lockers on Monday and officially closed out their 2018-19 season, which saw them reach the second-round of the playoffs only to be swept by the Carolina Hurricanes. 

While the team lost John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, the Islanders still exceeded expectations behind first-year head coach Barry Trotz and first-year team president Lou Lamoriello. 

Lamoriello and Trotz both addressed the media on Monday on what lies ahead for the franchise. Center Mathew Barzal, captain Anders Lee and goalie Robin Lehner, the latter of whom are free agents, also discussed the future of the team as well as what could be in store for their own futures. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, Robin Lehner
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Mar 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) passes the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports  (Bill Streicher)
Mar 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) passes the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck had a plethora of back issues that will likely require surgery. 

Per Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Clutterbuck has a stress fracture, two slipped disks and two rotated vertebrae. Brett Cyrgalis of The Post, reported Clutterbuck plans to meet with doctors soon to discuss surgery options. 

The extent of his recovery time could be anywhere between four to six weeks or four to six months and it is hard to imagine it will not be the latter, which would likely mean he would start next season on the IR. 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck
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May 3, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) and left wing Anders Lee (27) looks on during warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes in game four of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
May 3, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) and left wing Anders Lee (27) looks on during warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes in game four of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

There will be a sour taste in the Islanders' mouths after being swept by Carolina, one round after sweeping Pittsburgh. This surprising season was indubitably a success given their low expectations, but knowing that the Eastern Conference was wide open and there for the taking will leave the Isles closely examing the hows and whys of their elimination.

It leads into what will be a crucial summer for the Islanders. They've got the coach, they've got the GM and they've gone from having a bleak outlook to legitimate contenders. Now they need to figure out how to take the next step toward winning the Stanley Cup. Here are five big questions the Islanders face entering the offseason.

1. Will Robin Lehner remain with the Islanders?

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael dal Colle, Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss, Tom Kuhnhackl, Valtteri Filppula
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May 3, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
May 3, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Barry Trotz couldn't find the right buttons to push as the Islanders were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs Friday evening.

Different line combinations, a goaltender swap early in the second period and the threat of elimination weren't enough as the Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 5-2 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2008-09.

Several teams have won 4-0 and then lost 0-4 in consecutive playoff series. However, the only team to do that in the first two rounds of a postseason since the NHL expanded the first round to best-of-seven in 1986-87 was the Sabres in 1993 when they swept the Bruins and then were swept by the Canadiens (per Elias Sports Bureau.)

Tags: Adam Pelech, Anders Lee, Carolina Hurricanes, Mathew Barzal, Robin Lehner
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Canes complete sweep of Isles 00:02:01
Head coaches Barry Trotz and Rod Brind'Amour comment on the Hurricanes sweep of the Islanders.

Four up, four down. That's how it went for the Islanders in the playoffs as after they swept the Penguins in the first round, they just couldn't make enough plays to pull out a victory against the Hurricanes. The Isles dropped Game 4 Friday night, 5-2, and were swept out of the postseason.  >> Box Score

Six takeaways from Friday's game...

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Mathew Barzal, Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss
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Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

After more than a day of speculation, Robin Lehner keeps the Islander net for Game 4 Friday night, with Thomas Greiss remaining on the bench.

Cal Clutterbuck, who played in Game 3 despite dealing with an apparent leg injury, is out Friday. Michael Dal Colle enters the lineup.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Michael dal Colle, Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss
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Mar 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz yells during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz yells during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

After saying Thursday he was considering wholesale changes to the Islanders' lineup, Barry Trotz wouldn't reveal his plans Friday hours before their do-or-die Game 4 in Raleigh.

Trotz said he wanted to keep the Hurricanes "on their toes" and didn't name a starting goaltender. Robin Lehner has started the Isles' first seven playoff games, but he worked in a timeshare with Thomas Greiss during the season. 

Tags: Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss
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May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz speaks to the media after game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz speaks to the media after game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

The Islanders could look very different in Game 4.

Barry Trotz is considering a lineup overhaul with the Islanders on the brink, trailing Carolina 3-0 in the second round heading into Friday's do-or-die contest. 

And those changes might even including benching Vezina finalist Robin Lehner

"At all positions," Trotz said when asked about where changes could come.

Tags: Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss
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May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; A general view of PNC Arena prior to game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; A general view of PNC Arena prior to game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

The Islanders might get swept Friday night in Raleigh, but there won't be any brooms in PNC Arena.

In a message to season-ticket holders, the Hurricanes told fans that brooms won't be allowed inside when Carolina hosts Game 4 of the second-round series.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) battles for the puck with New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) in game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) battles for the puck with New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) in game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Calvin de Haan played at both Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center during his five seasons with the Islanders before signing with Carolina last summer. He knows how rowdy the fans can get in Uniondale, and he believes the Islanders playing their second-round home games in Brooklyn helps his current team.

"It's great for us," de Haan said Thursday, according to Newsday. "It's good for the away team. It kind of negates the home-ice advantage to a certain extent. I've played there (the Coliseum) and it's loud and you do feed off of that. Whether you think of it or not, you do feed off the momentum of the crowd and it seemed to elevate everybody on the bench. But it is what it is. That's Mr. Bettman's decision so, whatever."

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Carolina Hurricanes
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May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates after a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period in game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
May 1, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates after a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period in game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

The New York Islanders left Barclays Center believing the results were not a reflection of their effort through the first two games of the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, on Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the Islanders were not the better team and now face a monumental challenge trailing the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-0.

Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Sebastian Aho recorded a goal and an assist, as the Hurricanes skated to a 5-2 victory in Game 3. Justin Faulk and Justin Williams also found the back of the net while Curtis McElhinney made 28 saves.

Tags: Adam Pelech, Anders Lee, Carolina Hurricanes, Josh Bailey, Robin Lehner
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Trotz realistic after 5-2 loss 00:00:51
Barry Trotz is realistic after the 5-2 loss against the Hurricanes. The Isles have a steep hill to climb as the Canes can clinch on Friday.

The Islanders are in a big hole after the Hurricanes handled them in a 5-2 loss on the road to give themselves a 3-0 lead in this Second Round series. >> Box Score

Five takeaways from Wednesday's game...

1) It was the Hurricanes getting on the board first, as Teuvo Teravainen buried it right next to the goal line. But Devon Toews quickly made it a tie game at one apiece with a power play goal. It was the rookie's first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career. 

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Josh Bailey, Robin Lehner
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New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee handles the puck against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek during the second period in Game 1 of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee handles the puck against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek during the second period in Game 1 of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders coach Barry Trotz said their objective this week is to put wins together, one at a time.

"You can't win two unless you focus on the first, so we'll focus on the first and go from there," he said.

The Hurricanes have already knocked off the defending champion Capitals. Now they're trying to topple the team coached by last year's title-winning coach. >> Read More

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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Mar 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) passes the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports  (Bill Streicher)
Mar 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) passes the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Cal Clutterbuck will be a game-time decision for Game 3 in Raleigh, Islanders coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday morning.

The right wing will warm up with the team before the start of the game to determine whether he can go. 

According to the New York Post, Clutterbuck was on the ice Wednesday morning with the extras. Michael Dal Colle, who'd likely replace Clutterbuck if the veteran can't play, was also on the ice.

Tags: Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Josh Bailey, Michael dal Colle, Tom Kuhnhackl
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Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Maybe this can be considered a guarantee, maybe not.

At the very least, Robin Lehner's comments to the New York Post Tuesday before the Islanders traveled to Raleigh for Game 3 reflect the great amount of confidence the Islanders maintain despite trailing 2-0 in their second-round series against Carolina.

"It's not a big deal. We're just going to go down there and win," Lehner told The Post.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Carolina Hurricanes, Michael dal Colle, Robin Lehner
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Isles ready for game 3 00:00:50
Lee, Barzal and Bailey comment on game three against the Carolina Hurricanes. Facing adversity could be helpful in the long run.

The Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes square off on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Game 3 of the second-round playoff series as New York heads down to Carolina in an 0-2 hole. Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey and Anders Lee talk about the adversity the team faces in a critical Game 3. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
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Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney (35) makes a save against the New York Islanders during the second period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney (35) makes a save against the New York Islanders during the second period of game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

No time like the present for your first career playoff start -- even if Curtis McElhinney has already spent 11 seasons in the NHL. 

Yet, McElhinney has never began a playoff game between the pipes. That will change during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Islanders trailing Carolina 2-0 in the series. 

If the Islanders want any chance of leveling the series on the road, they'll need to get to McElhinney, who stopped all 17 shots he faced at the end of Game 2 -- a 2-1 Hurricanes victory Sunday at the Barclays Center -- first. 

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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Barry Trotz did not offer much on Cal Clutterbuck's status for Game 3, but his tight lips could mean that the winger won't suit up for Game 3 of the second-round series against the Hurricanes. 

When reporters inquired about a Clutterback update Monday, the coach responded with a one-word answer: "Nope." 

Given that uncertainty, here are a few options the Isles can turn to in Clutterbuck's absence: 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Michael dal Colle
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Trotz ready for critical game 3 00:00:42
Ahead of Game 3 on the road, Barry Trotz and the Isles aren't panicked.

There was a lot of talk about reality by the Islanders Sunday after Game 2 in Brooklyn. There was Barry Trotz, whose players generally carry the same poise he presents behind the bench, talking about how his team played a fairly complete game.

"That's the cruel reality sometimes is that you play really well and you don't get the result," he said.

Then there was Robin Lehner, the outstanding goaltender who summed up the game in this way: "We're not going to put excuses on hitting posts and bars and stuff, but the reality is I think we were the better team, and they just scored one more than us."

Tags: Brock Nelson, Carolina Hurricanes, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Matt Martin, Robin Lehner
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New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee shoots against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney in front of Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce and Islanders center Brock Nelson during the third period of Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee shoots against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney in front of Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce and Islanders center Brock Nelson during the third period of Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

It changed in a matter of moments for the Islanders Sunday afternoon.

The Islanders entered the third period of Game 2 with a one-goal lead, but in the first 65 seconds of the final frame, the game was flipped upside down when the Hurricanes lit the lamp twice and stormed to a 2-1 victory

Warren Foegele wired a wrister from a sharp angle just 17 seconds into the third period, and then former Islander Nino Niederreiter redirected a puck past Robin Lehner 48 seconds later to give the Hurricanes a one-goal advantage they would never relinquish.

"It's pretty simple, we played our game for close to 59 minutes," Islanders captain Anders Lee said. "Credit to them for popping two and holding us at the end."

Tags: Adam Pelech, Anders Lee, Carolina Hurricanes, Josh Bailey, Leo Komarov, Robin Lehner
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Isles fall to Hurricanes, 2-1 00:00:45
Barry Trotz and Robin Lehner discuss missed scoring opportunities as the Islanders fell to the Hurricanes on Sunday in Brooklyn, 2-1.

The Islanders allowed two third-period goals and lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Sunday at Barclays Center in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, falling in a 2-0 series deficit. >> Box score

Five takeaways from Sunday's game

1) Leading 1-0 heading into the third period, Robin Lehner and the Islanders allowed two goals in a 48-second span. Warren Foegele tied it 17 seconds into the period for Carolina, and Nino Niederreiter deflected a shot in front of Lehner into the back of the net to make it 2-1.

2) After outscoring the Penguins 14-7 in a four-game sweep, the Islanders have managed just one goal through the first two games of the conference semis.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Mathew Barzal
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Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek (34) is knocked over by New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)
Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek (34) is knocked over by New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)

The Hurricanes look to continue their nail-biting playoff run Sunday afternoon when they visit the Islanders in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after a Game 1 overtime victory. 

The latest bit of dramatics by the Hurricanes put their opponents into an unfamiliar position: trailing in a postseason series. The Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, during which they trailed for just four minutes and 51 seconds.

"Some areas we can clean up, but it was a good hockey game," Islanders right winger Matt Martin said afterward. "We'll regroup. It's a race to four (wins) so we've got to win the next one."

Tags: Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, Scott Mayfield
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Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans throw rally shirts onto the ice after the New York Islanders lose 0-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)
Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans throw rally shirts onto the ice after the New York Islanders lose 0-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)

Despite making quick work of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Islanders are taking a long-term approach to their second opponent.

Jordan Staal's overtime goal helped the Carolina Hurricanes grab an early series lead, but the Islanders remain focused on the bigger picture and are planting seeds that will be advantageous as the series goes on.

"When we put the puck down low and are hard on their defense, we kind of think of it as an investment," fourth-line forward Matt Martin said after the 1-0 loss in Game 1. "Over the course of the series, you keep wearing them down."

Tags: Brock Nelson, Calvin De Haan, Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Nick Leddy
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Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) and defenseman Nick Led (2) defend the net as Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) skates with the puck during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)
Apr 26, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) and defenseman Nick Led (2) defend the net as Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) skates with the puck during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)

The Islanders were locked in a scoreless duel that stretched into overtime, but they fell to the Hurricanes at home Friday night, 1-0, in Game 1 of the second round. >> Box score

Five Takeaways from Friday's game

1) Jordan Staal scored the game's only goal 4:04 into overtime to give the Hurricanes the win and hand the Isles their first loss of the postseason. Nino Niederreiter had a bank pass off the end boards around the net to Staal, whose shot went off Robin Lehner's left skate as he was trying to close the post and went in.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Robin Lehner, Ryan Pulock
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Mar 28, 2019; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz looks on during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports (James Carey Lauder)
Mar 28, 2019; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz looks on during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports (James Carey Lauder)

After leading the Islanders to a surprisingly successful regular season which culminated in a playoff berth, Barry Trotz has been named one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams award, the NHL's coach of the year honor.

Tampa Bay's Jon Cooper and St. Louis' Craig Berube are the other finalists. 

Last year, the Islanders went 35-37-10 and missed the playoffs by 17 points. They then lost their star player and captain John Tavares as he went home to play for the Maple Leafs.

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Isle fans could be advantage 00:00:38
Patrick Sharp said the atmosphere at Nassau Coliseum was insane, he expect fans will bring the same thing to Barclays Center.

The Islanders have been off since Apr. 16, when they completed a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 3-1 win. It was just the second postseason series win since 1994 for New York, which advanced to the second round in 2016.

The Islanders held five practices during their long break, but head coach Barry Trotz sensed something different Thursday morning.

"You could tell that there's guys that are turning the switch on a little bit -- not that they've turned it off, they've done a really good job, but I think the urgency is definitely there," said Trotz, who coached the Capitals to the Stanley Cup title last season before joining the Islanders last June. "They're a little more business-like, if you will. They've been business-like right through, but this is just a little different level."

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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Moving forward without Boychuk 00:00:38
The Islanders take on the Carolina Hurricanes without Johnny Boychuk. For Patrick Sharp, the key to overcoming the injury is team

Islanders' Johnny Boychuk sustained a leg injury in their first-round series against the Penguins and has a "slim chance" of playing at all in their second-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes, head coach Barry Trotz said. 

NBC Sports' analyst Patrick Sharp breaks down how the Islanders can overcome the injury and which players he expects to rise to the occasion in Boychuk's absence. 

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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and center Valtteri Filppula high-five after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and center Valtteri Filppula high-five after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

After waiting for more than a week, the Islanders finally found out late Wednesday night that they'll play the Hurricanes -- the Bunch of Jerks -- in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And because Carolina upset Washington in Game 7 on the road, the first road win by a team in the series, the Isles will get home-ice advantage in the second round, with Game 1 in Brooklyn on Friday night.

Will the well-rested Islanders be rusty Friday night having not played since last Tuesday? Or will they be able to pounce on a Hurricanes squad tired and beat up after a grueling seven-game series?

Let's take a look at how the Islanders and Hurricanes match up heading into the second round of the postseason.

Tags: Adam Pelech, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Carolina Hurricanes, Casey Cizikas, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Matt Martin, Robin Lehner, Ryan Pulock, Tom Kuhnhackl, Valtteri Filppula
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Feb 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) during the second period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) during the second period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The stage is set for the Second Round matchup between the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Islanders still have home ice advantage after the Hurricanes upset the reigning Stanley Cup-champion Capitals in Game 7 on Wednesday night. These two teams will kick off the new series on Friday night in the Barclays Center at 7 p.m.

After the home opener, here's how the schedule breaks down...

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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Lehner continues dominant play 00:00:48
Robin Lehner's play was outstanding against the Penguins. Can he keep it up, former NHL player Patrick Sharp gives his opinion.

Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner turned his life around, getting sober after abusing alcohol and drugs, and then turned his career around. His outstanding season led to Lehner becoming one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

He followed that up with a terrific first round as the Isles swept the Penguins in the first round. NBC Sports analyst Patrick Sharp, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, breaks down Lehner's play and a potential goalie matchup against either Washington's Braden Holtby or Carolina's Petr Mrazek.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Robin Lehner, Washington Capitals
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Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) fight for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

When it comes to the high intensity of the NHL Playoffs, some teams prefer a shorter break between series to preserve the momentum gained from the previous round's victory. 

And after the Islanders swept the Penguins in four games during the first round, the team has not played for a week now. They won't take the ice anytime soon, either, as they await the winner of the Carolina-Washington series. That bout will be decided Wednesday night in a decisive Game 7. 

As such, the Islanders won't begin the second round until Friday at the earliest. Ultimately, they'll have enjoyed a 10-day layoff. It was time well spent for the team, too, as it gave key players ample time to nurse lingering injuries and for everyone to at least recharge the batteries. 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Martin, Scott Mayfield
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Isles prep for second round 00:01:26
The Isles prep for the second round awaiting their opponent. Does the long layoff from play help or hurt the team battling injuries?

The Islanders will play in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs ... eventually.

New York, which swept the Pittsburgh Penguins, is still waiting to find out who it will play given the Hurricanes forced a Game 7 against the Washington Capitals with a 5-2 win in Game 6 on Monday night.

The Islanders last played April 16, when they beat the Penguins 3-1 to finish off the sweep. In the days since, they have focused on getting healthy, as several players, including Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield, have been dealing with injuries.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Scott Mayfield
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Feb 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) during the second period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 28, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) during the second period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

As the Islanders continue their preparation for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs while waiting to see who their opponent will be, they got some banged-up bodies back on the ice.

Right wing Cal Clutterbuck and defenseman Scott Mayfield both returned to practice Monday. They hadn't practiced with the team since the Isles defeated the Penguins in Game 4 last Tuesday to secure a first-round sweep. Clutterbuck missed the third period of Game 4.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Scott Mayfield
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Isles await 2nd round opponent 00:01:26
Islanders players discuss their long hiatus prior to the playoffs' 2nd round and staying sharp.

With the news that Johnny Boychuk will be out three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot with his leg in Tuesday's Game 4 win over the Penguins, Thomas Hickey likely will get his chance.

The 30-year-old defenseman is set to return to the Islanders' lineup for their second-round series against either Washington or Carolina. 

"The news on Johnny, one of my best friends here, that's tough news," Hickey said Friday. "But we've got big goals, big aspirations, and if someone's not getting bumped and bruised and a little banged up, we're probably not getting to that point. So we just move forward."

Tags: Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Hickey
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Mar 24, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 24, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The NHL announced on Friday that Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner is one of the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." 

In September, Lehner revealed in a piece for The Athletic that he had been addicted to drugs and alcohol and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. On April 6, Lehner wrote in a note posted on his Twitter account that he'd been sober for one year.

Tags: Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk shoots against the Arizona Coyotes during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk shoots against the Arizona Coyotes during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk will miss 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury he suffered during Game 4 of their first-round series against the Penguins, GM Lou Lamoriello said on Friday.

Boychuk blocked a shot off his right leg in the second period of Tuesday's win over the Penguins and did not return. 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Scott Mayfield
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Apr 12, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) celebrates with goalie Robin Lehner (40) after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game two of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 12, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) celebrates with goalie Robin Lehner (40) after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game two of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders are going to be waiting a while to find out who their next opponent is.

They know for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs that they'll play the winner of the Washington-Carolina series, but that series is guaranteed to go until at least Monday night after the Hurricanes defeated the Capitals Thursday night in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. The home team has won each game, and Washington will host Game 5 on Saturday before the series shifts back to Raleigh Monday for Game 6. Had Washington won Thursday, they could've won the series on Saturday.

So it will be more than a week between games for the Isles, who clinched a sweep of the Penguins on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. 

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals
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Trotz talks prep for next round 00:01:55
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz talks about the team's time off in between rounds as well as possibly facing the Capitals.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz didn't have an update on Johnny Boychuk or Cal Clutterbuck, who were both hurt in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Penguins.

The Islanders, who swept Pittsburgh on Tuesday, did not practice on Thursday as they look ahead to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk
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Mar 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz yells during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 3, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz yells during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Barry Trotz had something to say upon being presented his Stanley Cup ring in November, addressing the Washington squad he had helmed to the franchise's long-awaited first championship the previous spring.

"You can do it again," Trotz told Alex Ovechkin and the Caps in the visiting locker room at Barclays Center. "You'll have to go through the (effing) Island, OK? But you guys can do it again."

No one is scoffing anymore at that middle zing, no one should be snickering anymore at this woebegone franchise, which has proven dramatically what a little adult supervision, accountability, actual on-ice structure -- and a bought-in rallying point concerning a departed superstar -- can do in implementing the longest of overdue culture changes and fostering immediate results.

Tags: John Tavares, Robin Lehner
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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The New York Islanders found a perfect recipe and executed it to perfection as they completed a first-round series sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday evening with a 3-1 victory.

"A lot of people wrote us off and they are a bit shocked," Jordan Eberle said on MSG Network. "We are confident in the way that we play. This is one of the tighter knit teams that I have played on. We love battling and playing for each other. You do that every night on a consistent basis you can go places."

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk
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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The Islanders completed the opening round sweep of the Penguins in a 3-1 road victory to move onto the next stage in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night. >> Box score

Six Takeaways from Tuesday's game

1) Facing elimination on their home ice, the Penguins got off on the board in a hurry to kick off the game. Jake Guentzel opened up the scoring with assists from Sidney Crosby and Jared McCann in the first 35 seconds of this one. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Robin Lehner
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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) congratulates right wing Leo Komarov (left) on his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New York won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The New York Islanders are in position to usher Pittsburgh out of the playoffs with barely a squeak from the Penguins.

The Islanders can complete a four-game sweep in their first-round playoff series with a win Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

It that's a surprise -- Pittsburgh was widely picked to win the series despite finishing one spot and three points behind the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division -- it shouldn't be, argued New York goaltender Robin Lehner.

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Robin Lehner
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Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) and and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Garrett Wilson (10) fight for the puck during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 14, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) and and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Garrett Wilson (10) fight for the puck during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Each time the Penguins take a small step forward and attempt to grab momentum, the Islanders respond with force.

The Islanders have pushed the Penguins to the brink of elimination with a 4-1 victory in Game 3, extending their advantage in the series to 3-0.

The Penguins got the quick start they were looking for in their first home game when Garrett Wilson redirected the puck past Robin Lehner to open up the scoring at 12:54 of the first period. The crowd was on their feet, and everything was trending in Pittsburgh's direction.

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
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