Clutch Kyle Palmieri having one of his best seasons for the NY Islanders

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Despite having all the skills and tools necessary, New York Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri has not been a perennial 30-goal scorer throughout his career. In fact, the only time he hit that mark was during the 2015-16 season with the New Jersey Devils. Not surprisingly, it is the only season where the Smithtown native has played in 82 games.

The key for Palmieri entering his third full season on Long Island was going to be consistency and health. Unlike his prior two seasons with the Islanders, the 33-year-old has been able to remain on the ice, appearing in all 79 games and has arguably been the team's best forward during its playoff push.

Since the start of March, Palmieri has scored 13 of his 28 goals, including goals in each of the last four games, including Thursday night's O.T. game-winner versus the Montreal Canadiens. “I thought he was really good at rebound control, making sure we were going to have to beat him,” Palmieri said of Habs' G Sam Montembault. “Realistically, I just saw a little opening and tried to shoot it there.”

The goal was the latest clutch moment for Palmieri, who has raised his game when the team needed it most for the second consecutive season. He now has 28 goals and 21 assists on the year, one point shy of the fourth 50-point season of his career. Earlier this month, "Palms" also had the primary assist on Brock Nelson's O.T. goal against the Philadelphia Flyers on Apr. 1st and secured wins with empty-net goals versus Nashville and the New York Rangers.

If you have the feeling that Palmieri has been a clutch performer, even when his performance has been streaky since being acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, you'd be correct. According to MSG Networks statistician Eric Hornick, of players in their 220 games with the Islanders, only three others have more game-winning goals than Palmieri's 16 - and each of them is in the Hall-of-Fame. Pierre Turgeon leads with 22, followed by Mike Bossy's 21 and Bryan Trottier's 17.

After a strong post-season in 2021, GM Lou Lamoriello elected to re-sign Palmieri to a four-year deal in the summer as the team exposed Jordan Eberle to the expansion draft, where he was selected by the Seattle Kraken. Since that time, fans have questioned whether choosing to bring back Palmieri was the right choice, but he's proving this season why it was, delivering one of the best and most complete seasons of his career.