In a word…
Evgeni Nabokov was outstanding, turning away everything that the Flyers put at them. 45 stops in regulation and overtime, with an additional two in the shootout. The Islanders would only muster up 18 at Ilya Bryzgalov; but Frans Nielsen and John Tavares would score in the shootout, to get the visitors the extra point.
The Islanders relied on five defenseman in the third period, as Dylan Reese was lost to a knee injury. Aaron Ness, in his NHL debut, played 14:12 and was not timid in his play. The Isles are now down another backliner, with Travis Hamonic out for two weeks with a broken nose, and Milan Jurcina about a few days away.
Nabokov is 7-2 in his last 9 games with a near .960 save percentage during those games. He clearly is not going anywhere, and this team is putting it all together. The Isles now sitting in 11th place, 9 point behind 8th place Ottawa, with 4 games in hand. Yes – it is not impossible, the team needs to win these games that are upcoming against teams that are behind them, and try to walk away with some victories against teams that they are not favored to win. He recorded his 305th career victory which ties him with “Battling Billy Smith” for 22nd alltime.
It is the first time in nearly four years that the Islanders have been at NHL 500 (22-22-8) this late in the season. Onto to the visit of Les Canadiens de Montreal.
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