THE MORNING SKATE — Isles Will Need Help to Clinch Tonight

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Kevin Schultz

Last night, the Sabres lost 2-1 to the Jets, keeping the Isles’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot at three. That game wasn’t even as close as it looks; Buffalo got out shot 39-25.

So tonight, the Islanders will have an opportunity to exert their own influence over their playoff destiny. They’ll be in Raleigh to play the Hurricanes at 7pm, with a chance to clinch tonight pending another Jets’ loss. The Jets are in Washington, on the second night of a back-t0-back, to play the red-hot Capitals. Washington is 9-1-0 in their past 10 games, and can hopefully help the Islanders out tonight. The Caps are fighting for their own playoff lives, too. They’re only one up on Winnipeg after last night.

Here are your playoff scenarios tonight. The Islanders can clinch if:

Isles win, Winnipeg loses in OT/SO/regulation

or

Isles lose in OT or SO, Winnipeg loses in regulation

With three games to go, the Islanders need only three points to make it. With the lack of help they’ve been getting from other teams lately, they might just need to earn all three themselves.

CONCUSSION FILES: RADEK MARTINEK
The Sporting News’ Jesse Spector caught up with Radek Martinek, who missed most of last season in Lumbus with a concussion. At 36, Martinek was injured with a concussion last October, and only ended up playing seven games with the Jackets.

First, Martinek sustained a concussion last summer at the World Championships. After recovering, he signed with Columbus and suited up but only a week or so into the season got his bell rung by Brad Stuart in October 2011. He missed the rest of the season and didn’t play before showing up at Islanders training camp prior to this season.

Knowing from awful experience that concussions tend to become successively more difficult to deal with, Martinek says he just tries not to think about the potential consequences of another bad hit to his head. He also knows that he “should probably wear a better helmet” than the “old one” he still wears.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “What I can do is just head up and protect myself, somehow.”

KELLY HRUDEY WOULD LIKE TO SELL YOU A CAR
From the wayback machine, via Islandermania:

ALSO: LHH reviews the John Spano movie, ‘Big Shot.’

And your moment of zen, from Saturday’s Devils/Panthers game via: