The New York Islanders kept themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff conversation with a huge win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. They’ll need to keep this momentum going heading into tonight’s matchup at home versus Nashville.
Although Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets wasn’t the prettiest of wins, it was one the New York Islanders desperately needed in their quest for a postseason berth. Allowing Jaroslav Halak to face nearly fifty shots is never ideal. But the Isles rallied and then held on late to earn two points.
The Islanders head coach Doug Weight played a little game of mix-and-match with his top-two lines, moving Anders Lee down to the second line to play alongside Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal. Anthony Beauvillier played most of the game on the first line and the Isles third line contained Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, and Brock Nelson.
Though it certainly took some getting used to, by the end of the game everyone was looking pretty comfortable in their new roles. Even the New York Islanders fourth line of Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, and Tanner Fritz contributed their part in the win.
New York Islanders defense is coming along, even with Dennis Seidenberg on the first pairing
The New York Islanders first defensive pairing of Nick Leddy with Dennis Seidenberg was a bit puzzling (to say the least), but Seidenberg actually performed well. That allowed Nick Leddy to do what Nick Leddy does, which is to play his game of hard-nosed defense sprinkled with offensive prowess.
Thomas Hickey got over the huge mistake he committed that cost the Isles a goal early on. He made up for his mental lapse with some big plays down the stretch. Ryan Pulock continued his offensive breakout with two assists and a handful of powerful shots that almost found their way into the back of the net.
More from Eyes On Isles
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- Islanders Zdeno Chara trending in the right direction
- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
If the New York Islanders are to continue to move up in the wild-card standings, they’ll need their young defensemen to really step up.
New York Islanders need to build off of Saturday’s win
Tonight will be a huge test for the New York Islanders. The Nashville Predators are a very talented team with weapons on every line. How the Islanders show up tonight will show exactly how far this team can really go this year.
If the Isles come out flat like they did against Florida and Toronto last week after knocking off one of the best teams in the NHL in the Vegas Golden Knights, they can pretty much kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
If Doug Weight can’t motivate this team, especially after their inspiring win over Columbus on Saturday, I’m not sure what it will take. The New York Islanders came out for the second period on Saturday with a head full of steam.
After starting the game absolutely flat for the umpteenth time this season (allowing over 26 shots in the first period alone), they showed their guile and redeemed themselves. The positive results of their hard work were plainly obvious.
If the New York Islanders can come out fired up at the beginning of games for the rest of the season, maybe, just maybe, they’ll realize their full potential and play to their capabilities. Maybe.