Playoff Style Hockey is the Best NY Islanders Hockey

Nashville Predators v New York Islanders
Nashville Predators v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

There were plenty of people off the NY Islanders bandwagon ten days ago, but it seems as if everyone has been sucked back in as the team is already playing playoff hockey.

Just when it appeared the Islanders were going to miss the postseason for the second time in two seasons, they're in the midst of a four-game winning streak and sitting in sole possesion of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

During their consecutive Conference/Semi-Finals appearances, the Islanders played a defense-first style system under head coach Barry Trotz. Since Trotz and the Islanders parted ways they've deviated from that system at times, but when pressed against a wall, they've returned to what's been successful in the past.

Over the last four games, the Islanders have allowed six goals, including a shutout against Trotz's Predators on Saturday night. Semyon Varlamov turned away all 41 shots, and while he was deservingly named the first star of the game.

“He was outstanding. He looked so confident out there. It looked like it was an easy game and I was happy to see him play that way,” Patrick Roy said. “He won the game for us tonight.”

While Varlamov stopped 41 shots, his teammates got in on the act, blocking 33 shots - well above their 18.6 per game average. Additionally, the Preds were credited with 17 high-danger opportunities. In many instances, they'd get one good chance, but the Islanders rarely allowed for there to be another. They cleaned up the area around the crease throughout the game, as second and third opportunities were few and far between.

Heading into the season's final five games, the Islanders are running into much stiffer competition, starting with the NY Rangers tomorrow night. The Islanders have struggled against their bitter rivals this season, allowing 11 goals in two matchups. They'll need to play a similar style and continue to receive stellar goaltending if they hope to leave with two points and keep a stranglehold on their playoff position.