The New York Islanders were less than a minute from a huge win over the Nashville Predators Monday night. A Nashville goal with an extra skater and a beautiful pass-and-shot in overtime did the Isles in. But don’t worry, they’re right where they want to be.
It almost seemed as if the New York Islanders had finally rid themselves of their bad habit of not building off of big victories. After a great team win over Columbus on Saturday, the Isles were mere seconds away from another huge win over a very good team. Then it all came crashing down.
All in all, the Islanders came away with an extremely valuable point. They remain very much in the hunt for one of the two wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference. Keep in mind, the Isles are only a few wins in a row from finding themselves near the top of the Metro Division. Let’s not let a tough loss derail the Isles train to Playoffville.
Let’s remember, the Islanders lost defenseman Scott Mayfield very early on to an undisclosed injury and were forced to play most of the game with only five defensemen. Nick Leddy and Co. did their best to supplement the loss of Mayfield.
Leddy and Ryan Pulock both contributed goals in the loss and the rest of the defensive corps did their jobs to their best abilities. Considering the glut of talent on the Predators, staying in the game for as long as the Islanders did while being down a defenseman is an accomplishment in itself.
New York Islanders weren’t necessarily outplayed by Nashville
The New York Islanders were up 3-2 with under a minute to go in regulation. They looked the best they have in months up until that point, and they did all of that with only five healthy defensemen! To say that they gave away points, as close as they were to a regulation win, is to look at things in an awfully pessimistic way.
The optimistic way to look at this loss would be to remember that Nashville played in the Stanley Cup Finals last year and are still an excellent team. The Islanders have been on a roller coaster ride as of late and haven’t been able to find a real groove since November.
The Isles stayed in this game with their will to survive and their guile. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough to stop the rising tide of the Predators with the game on the line.
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Andrew Ladd is back at 100% again (at least he appears to be). As predicted by many, Ladd’s presence alongside Brock Nelson is having spectacular effects on Nelson’s ongoing struggle to regain his form.
Two assists a piece for each of them looks to be a direct result of budding chemistry on the line.
Casey Cizikas looks to be fully healthy as well, after missing some time with an upper-body injury. Since he’s returned, Cizikas has looked recharged.
In addition to his highlight-reel goal Monday night, Cizikas was making plays all over the ice throughout the game. Even Jason Chimera looked OK!
If you look closely, you’ll see the New York Islanders coming together as a team
The players the New York Islanders have been desperately missing are all returning one by one. Doug Weight‘s line mix-up seems to be working to an extent. He will likely tinker a bit more with his lines but this team can handle that. Taking players out of their comfort zones will have positive results in the long run.
There’s enough talent on this team for the New York Islanders to make a run at a postseason berth, for sure. Even if they don’t acquire a defenseman before the February 26th trade deadline, they still have an outside chance of getting hot and making their way into the tournament.
That’s not to say they don’t need GM Garth Snow to go out and trade for a defenseman because they most certainly do. But if there are no major additions made before the deadline and Garth Snow waves his white flag surrendering his post as Islanders GM, the Isles can’t use that as an excuse.
If they have to go at this with the current roster they have, the New York Islanders need to not only accept that fact, they need to embrace it and rally around it. For the second time in as many weeks, I’ll end with this: Lets. Go. Islanders.