Islanders: Top 3 Thomas Greiss performances since 2015-16

Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Thomas Greiss leaves the New York Islanders after five years with the organization. Here are his three best performances with the Islanders.

After five years with the New York Islanders, goalie Thomas Greiss is departing the organization after signing a two-year $7.2 million deal ($3.6 million AAV) with the Detroit Red Wings. The German goalie, who was brought in to be a backup for Jaroslav Halak became much more than that in his time with the Islanders organization.

Signing a two-year $3 million deal ($1.5 million AAV) on July 1, 2015, Greiss was brought in to be a serviceable backup option between the pipes. With a 36-30-11 record and an average 2.47GAA and 0.913SV% before signing with the Isles, then GM Garth Snow was confident Greiss could stop a few pucks when Halak needed a break.

When Halak went down with a season-ending injury in March of 2016, Greiss became the Isles starter through the rest of the regular season and into the postseason. With Greiss in nets and stealing a few games, the Isles won their first playoff series in 23 years.

That was what Thomas Greiss was able to do through five years with the Isles. Steal games. His steady and calm presence kept the Islanders in games they had no business winning through his entire tenure with the Isles.

There are a number of games that Thomas Greiss stole for the Isles, but I wanted to bring up three in particular. Three games where Thomas Greiss powered the Islanders to victory.

With Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin under contract already it was clear that Greiss was likely on the way out as a UFA. I want to wish him the best of luck with Detroit (except when we eventually play them).

Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Game 5 vs Florida

After a 2-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 4 to tie the series up at 2-2, the first-round playoff series shifted back to Sunrise for Game 5. The Panthers had picked up an important road split after their Game 4 win and could now deliver a critical blow to the Isles with a win in Game 5 on home ice.

Going up 3-2 in a series is by no means a guarantee to winning a playoff series, but it’s a good place to be. And the Panthers certainly knew that.

In the second period, down 1-0 the Panthers poured on the pressure putting 14 shots on Greiss. He stopped all 14. Aleksander Barkov finally found an opening 18:01 into the third period to tie it up at 1-1.

Greiss stopped the next 19 shots that Florida tossed at in the final minutes of the third and through the next two overtime periods.

Greiss stopped 48 shots that night and only allowed that one Barkov goal against. Earning him an incredible 0.979SV% on the night. Alan Quine ended things with a win for the Isles netting a double-OT goal.

The Islanders didn’t win the series that night, but going up 3-2 before going home for Game 6 was a massive advantage. With another 40+ save night and a John Tavares double-OT winner, the Isles eliminated the Panthers in Game 6. Ending an embarrassing 23-year stretch where the Isles hadn’t won a playoff series. That ended in large part to Thomas Greiss.

Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

45 Save Shut out vs Carolina

On February 16, 2018, the Islanders traveled to Carolina after dispatching the New York Rangers at home by a score of 3-0. Playing the next night after a date with the Rangers is never a great proposition for the Islanders. They frequently suffer from a Rangers hangover. They typically give it their all against their cross-river rivals and have little left in the tank for the next game.

Leave it to Thomas Greiss who’s been solid against the Hurricanes with the Islanders to get the start the next night. Since 2015-16, Greiss holds a 7-4-3 record against the Hurricanes.

On this night, the Hurricanes showed up early, putting 16 shots on Greiss in the opening frame. The Isles managed just seven. And the deluge of shots didn’t stop. The Hurricanes added 12 in the second period and 17 in the third period for a total of 45 shots against Greiss.

He stopped every single one of them.

The Isles left Carolina with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier, and John Tavares.

The Isles never mustered more than eight shots in a period and finished with 23 in total, nearly half of the shots Carolina tossed at Greiss. And the Islanders went to the box three times. Greiss stopped all ten shots he faced on the penalty kill, of course.

It was a prototypical Greiss performance. Even though he was under siege from the opening faceoff he stayed calm in the blue paint and was an absolute rock at the back for the Islanders who pick up a win when they had not to right too.

Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

That Poke Check vs Sidney Crosby

The Poke Check. When you think about Greiss and the 5,081 regular season saves he made for the Islanders there’s one that comes to mind. That poke check on Sidney Crosby as he was in on a breakaway with the score tied 2-2 in overtime back in November of 2018.

With the game on his stick, just about everyone thought Sidney Crosby would end the game. Until Thomas Greiss lunged at him with his stick in a move that surprised everyone, including Crosby.

Greiss would add an incredible glove save on Phil Kessel seconds later to push the game to the shootout. There, he’d stop Malkin, Crosby (again), and Kris Letang for the win.

Unlike the Carolina game, the Isles weren’t totally outplayed here. But the game should have ended with Crosby on the breakaway. It was a bad giveaway by Barzal in the O-zone that lead to Crosby’s break. The Isles should have paid for that mistake, but Greiss bailed them out. As he’s done countless times before.

One of the Best

Thomas Greiss leaves Long Island as one of the best shot-stoppers to play for the franchise. He’s fifth in franchise history for games played (193), fifth for wins (101), sixth in shutouts (10), first in save percentage (0.915)*, and fifth in goals-against average (2.70)*. All stats from NHL.com.

*For goalies who played at least 50 games.

As The Athletic’s Arthur Staple said, that’s not bad for a guy who arrived to be the backup goalie. Good luck, Thomas!

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