Always in our Hearts
Islanders pay tribute to Mike Bossy; lose 3-2 in OT to Panthers
Good Morning, Islanders Country.
“I’m probably a perfectionist,” Mike Bossy shyly stated in a video clip shown to the UBS Arena crowd before the game. The Islanders organization did the memory of their all-time goal scorer proud with a tribute that hit the perfect tone before the face-off. The closing note was an aged Bossy reflecting on his career and declaring that “being an Islander for me, is being a winner.”
There’s no understating the pride that Bossy, along with his dynasty-era teammates, have given Long Island. That doesn’t diminish because childhood heroes and hockey icons pass away and certainly don’t subside after a disappointing season or 3-2 OT loss. Like Mike Bossy, that sense of pride is always in our hearts.
Coming up, the Isles’ top pick in 2021 is Bridgeport bound while Brendan and Butch will have to wait to be reunited. Plus, Johnny Boychuk makes a cameo on the MSG broadcast and Clark Gillies goes toe to toe with Terry O’Reilly in a memorable playoff bout. But first, a recap of last night’s OT loss.
Let’s dive in.
🏒 IN SHORT: Aleksander Barkov registered a hat trick 20 seconds into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Tuesday night. Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists to move atop the NHL scoring list with 111 points and Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves for the Panthers (55-15-6) who extended their win streak to 11. Playing his fifth straight game, Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves for the Islanders (35-31-10), who received goals from JG Pageau and Sebastian Aho. The Panthers won all three meetings between the teams this season [BOX].
🔑 KEY MOMENT(s):
🔷 Only five seconds into a power-play, the Islanders took the lead 1:01 into the third period. JG Pageau won the face-off back to Noah Dobson and with Anders Lee taking up space in front of the net, Mat Barzal showed off his vision and found an open Pageau that shoveled the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky for a 2-1 lead.
🔻 Playing 4-on-4, Aleksander Barkov found a loose puck as four Islanders scrambled in front of Ilya Sorokin and scored his second goal of the game to tie things up at 2-2 with 3:58 to play in regulation.
🔻 Barkov completed the hat trick 20 seconds into the overtime when he beat Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri in a race and pushed a backhand past Sorokin. It was the Panthers captain’s 37th goal of the season, a career-high.
❶ SPECIAL NIGHT: "Yeah, it was pretty special," Mathew Barzal said of the pre-game ceremony. "I looked back in the crowd after the video is done and I saw some tears coming down a couple of faces …he was a pretty special human and a special player, so an amazing tribute by our organization."
❷ PLAYED HARD: "I think just we're building a culture here that no matter what the circumstances are, we're willing to play hard,” Barzal added. “We’re building towards something bigger than, you know, this season."
❸ A LOT OF HEAT: "They're their top guys kept coming out and putting a lot of heat on us, that's pretty good line," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "They've got some high-end guys. Barkov had three goals and Huberdeau had three assists."
⏭ NEXT UP: The Islanders are back on home ice at UBS Arena and welcome the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The Isles have won the last two meetings this season, both at MSG. The Rangers won the only game on Long Island back in November. The face-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
📰 NEWS: Ilya Sorokin started his fifth straight game, but was backed up by Semyon Varlamov who had missed the previous two games with a stomach illness. Otto Koivula was called up from Bridgeport on an emergency basis but was a healthy scratch as was Oliver Wahlstrom again as Kieffer Bellows and Ross Johnston remained in the lineup.
◾️ PBP IN PROTOCOL: It took two years of non-stop travel, but “it” finally got Brendan Burke. The Islanders’ play-by-play voice is in health and safety protocols and will be out for the next few games. Burke and analyst Butch Goring were set to reunite on Tuesday, but instead, it will be Bridgeport Islanders announcer Alan Fuehring filling in alongside Butch while Brendan is out.
Aatu Räty, the Islanders’ top selection in the 2021 NHL Draft (52nd overall), was assigned to the AHL Bridgeport Islanders on Tuesday. After a slow start with Karpat in Finland’s Liiga (1 assist in 6 games), Räty was traded to Jukurit, where he flourished, registering 13 goals and 40 points in 41 games.
Räty is expected to practice with the team on Wednesday and play this weekend as the B-Isles host Springfield on Friday and Hartford on Saturday. These are big games for Bridgeport as they aim for a spot in the Calder Trophy Playoffs
In The Athletic, Kevin Kurz wrote an insightful piece on the former potential No. 1 overall selection’s up and down year that saw once high expectations diminish and then return to the point where he could be considered the steal of the draft.
◾️ A GOOD START: “I think the biggest thing is that he manages the game with not only his skill but his brain,” Bridgeport GM Chris Lamoriello said. “He has good instincts on both sides of the puck. He wants to compete in all three zones. … The combination of his skill set and his instincts and his competitiveness has put him in a position today where we feel good about how the year went. We know there’s a lot still that he needs to work on, but he’s had a good start.”
◾️ BRIGHT FUTURE: “Very bright future ahead of him and I think that he will have a great chance to be in the Islanders’ lineup next season, ” former Islander and Jukurit head coach Olli Jokinen told Kurz. “His overall game is solid (on) both ends of the ice.”
Johnny Boychuk was at UBS Arena for the first time and joined Shannon Hogan during the 1st intermission. Johnny shared his impressions of the Islanders’ new home, talked about what he misses most about playing, and told us where he watches Islanders games at home - the bathtub.
📚 SOUND SMART: Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Florida recorded its NHL-leading 27th comeback win to raise their win streak to 11 and it is also a franchise record 23rd road win. Aleksander Barkov is the second Panther with a hat trick vs. the Isles this season (Sam Bennett on 10/16); they are the only two hats allowed by the Isles this season.
🗓 ISLE REMEMBER: On April 19, 1980, Bryan Trottier had two goals and two assists as the Islanders defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3 at the Nassau Coliseum. With the win, the Isles took a 3-0 lead in the quarterfinal series. Bobby Nystrom and Bob Bourne each had a goal and two assists, but it was Clark Gillies’ heavyweight bout with Terry O’Reilly that was the night’s standout performance.
🔗 Cassie Campbell-Pascall on her friendship with Mike Bossy by Scott Burnside “That is what Cassie Campbell-Pascall thinks of when she thinks of Mike Bossy: rubber chickens and tennis balls in small-town arenas and restaurants stretching from coast to coast. Not the nine straight 50-goal seasons or the Hall of Fame induction or the four Stanley Cups, the things that made Bossy almost otherworldly. She thinks of the things that made Bossy not just human but a trusted friend and colleague for 16 years.”
🔗 Barry Trotz is having a tough time evaluating this Islanders season by Ethan Sears, New York Post “Since Jan. 13, when the Islanders returned from their final schedule disruption, they played at a 92.4-point pace, if extrapolated over 82 games. That would have gotten them closer to the playoffs, but they still would have been out of the running. The Capitals, in the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot, had 96 points entering Tuesday.”
And we leave you with this ….the video tribute to Mike Bossy played before face-off.
Thanks for reading! Follow us on Twitter for regular updates until the next newsletter.