Even in the midst of a rough November losing streak, it didn’t seem as though the thought of starting over was on Rivers’ mind.
“I love this team and I like what we’re doing,” Rivers said (via The Ringer). “We’ve got major obstacles, and if we can somehow get through it, I think we’re going to be really good.”
Only Tampa Bay has more points (96), and Nashville has a game in hand on Tampa Bay.
One Islander who may have some butterflies heading into this matchup is Eberle, who was selected 22nd overall by Edmonton in the 2008 NHL Draft, and dealt to the Islanders last June for center Ryan Strome.
Eberle is third on New York with 23 goals, including a team-best six game-winners. He averaged 23.5 goals in seven seasons with the Oilers.
“He spent a lot of time here and put in some good years,” Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Hopefully they cheer him on loud. When your buddies like that go somewhere else, you still want them to succeed. It’s good to see him playing well.”
Strome, who is fifth on the Oilers with 31 points, has three goals and four assists in his last six games.
“He can really shoot the puck, has a bomb of a shot,” Sullivan said.
“You are always concerned no matter what when a player is injured,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “I don’t want to make a comment on it. I hope he’s all right. I think our guys feel like it’s a bruise.”
New York’s Barzal, a Coquitlam, British Columbia, native, made his first NHL appearance in Vancouver. He leads the rookie scoring race with 69 points, including two assists Monday night. He’s the first rookie with 50 assists since Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom did it in 200708. Boeser trails him with 29 goals and 55 points.
And it’s not easy to see how the Pistons will adjust their style of play to suit Griffin. He is a better player than Greg Monroe, but Detroit already went through a stretch in which it tried to pair star center Andre Drummond with a ball-dominant power forward who can pass from the post. That was Monroe, and it did not go well. That’s primarily why Detroit has one brief appearance in the postseason in the last nine years.