With a convincing 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Islanders pulled to within one point of their Metro Division rivals, and two points of the final Wildcard-holding Boston Bruins.
The New York Islanders got off to a shaky start against the Philadelphia Flyers, but they buckled down behind strong goaltending and a total team effort.
Greiss Greiss Baby!
Coming into Philadelphia, Thomas Greiss had given up 10 goals in his previous two games. While the Islanders pulled out the overtime win against Toronto, he gave up a late goal in the third for the loss in Detroit. He made only 19 saves on 24 shots in that game.
After those two shaky games, the Islanders needed a big game out of Greiss. His 15 saves in the first period were exactly what the team needed and kept them in the game until the Islanders were ready to take control.
New York Islanders
The effort from Islanders started with the goaltender. When Greiss set the tone with strength, the rest of the team began to fall in line. After relinquishing 16 shots in the first period, they held the Flyers to eight in the second and 10 in the third.
The Islanders continued their strong five on five play, giving up only that early power play goal. They got that much needed secondary scoring with Jason Chimera and Casey Cizikas scoring two huge goals in the second and third periods respectively.
Tavares Being Tavares
John Tavares’ return to form has been a huge part of the Islanders resurgence. His offensive play has picked up exponentially with 10 goals in his last 13 games and he’s been strengthening his defensive game through the penalty kill. He was dominant in the face-off circle.
Prior to January 13th, there was little indication that Tavares was the player we’ve all grown used to watching. While showing flashes of his brilliance, his consistency was lacking and there were nights, he was downright awful. There was a joylessness to him that added to the pessimism surrounding the team.
Then he went to Florida and scored that hat trick. He’s looked more and more like himself, turning in the dominant performances we’re so used to seeing.
With the team coming together and offering support, Tavares’ elevation in play has made this team wholly competitive again.