New York Islanders Reclaim First Place In Division With 2-1 Win Over Calgary Flames

After the hated rival Rangers caught them last night, the New York Islanders rolled up their sleeves and took back control with a win over the Flames.

The New York Islanders were well aware of their current position in the Metropolitan division.  The Isles had lost the top spot to the New York Rangers after the Blue Shirts beat the Arizona Coyotes last night.

If you thought the Islanders would have put some pressure on themselves coming into tonight, you’d be right.

2. 106. . 1. 112.

3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Jaroslav Halak (NYI) – 26 saves
  2. Ryan Strome (NYI) – 1 goal
  3. Karri Ramo (CAL) – 37 saves

The Islanders played host to the Calgary Flames who are in their own dog fight for a playoff spot as they jockey for position with the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card.

Jaroslav Halak was back between the pipes for another opportunity to become the all time Islander leader in Wins (Osgood, DiPietro and Billy Smith all Tied at 32).  Across the ice was Karri Ramo in-goal for Calgary as he has been the hot hand for Flames coach  Bob Hartley.

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The Islanders stormed out and immediately put pressure on the visitors.  Both teams skated hard battled it out in the corners, blocked shots and were tight defensively.  Ryan Strome opened the scoring on a power play goal, his 14th of the season, as he got off a wrist shot in heavy traffic in front.  The play was kept alive after John Tavares, who gained control of the puck from Travis Hamonic, carried it through to the net.  Strome was able to get his stick on the rebound for the Goal.

Remarkably, it was the first PPG given up by the Flames in eight games.

During the first, Johnny Boychuk miss-handled the puck at the blue line and had to chase down Michael Ferland as he broke towards Halak.  Boychuk looked to break up the play cleanly but was called on a questionable hook which awarded a penalty shot.  Halak came up huge and stopped the penalty shot and kept the Islanders up by one.

The second period witnessed no goals by either team as both keepers were solid throughout.  The Isles out shot the Flames 11-8 during the middle half.

Feb 27, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) reacts after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If the Islanders did their homework they should have been well aware that Calgary all season has owned the third period against their opponents.  No teams in the NHL have scored more goals in the third and won more games trailing after two periods then the Flames.

With that said the Isles only carried a 1-0 lead.  The two teams played evenly as they went back and forth until Cal Clutterbuck banged in what looked to be a good goad with a little over fifteen minutes left.  The Refs waved off the goal and called goaltending interference on Brock Nelson.

Halak made a huge save right after the controversal call keeping the puck out of the net and any chance of a momentum swing for his team.  The Isles were able to keep the flames off the board and Cal Clutterbuck after ringing an empty net shot off the post hustled to the corner and tossed it back in front where it was deflected in giving the Isles a two goal lead.  The Flames scored a fluke goal with 21 seconds left to add pressure that was not needed in the final moments of the game.

What has to excite fans is the fact that the Islanders played a solid brand of disciplined hockey against a desperate Flames team who are fighting for their hockey life.

John Tavares recorded another point on the Strome goal and is now tied for first in the league in scoring. Can anybody say MVP?

The Islanders are back tomorrow as they host the Carolina Hurricanes.  Expect Chad Johnson to go as Jack Capuano rarely plays his goalies back to back especially with an early evening start at 5:00 PM ET.

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