The Upshot: The NY Islanders punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs
HOW IT HAPPENED
The New York Islanders needed just one point, but earned two in a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at an electric UBS Arena on Wednesday night. Brock Nelson scored twice for the Isles, who return to the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Hudson Fasching also added a goal and Anders Lee scored a power-play goal late in the third period to make it a two-goal game. Ilya Sorokin wasn't tested much, but was good when he needed to be, making 17 saves. The Islanders were in control of the game and on the power-play when Nick Suzuki scored a one-handed short-handed goal to make it a one-goal game headed into the third period. Sam Montembeault made 31 saves for Montreal in the loss. With the win, the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in 16 seasons.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Your best players have to come big in the biggest games and Brock Nelson has been the Islanders best forward this season - by far. Nelson finished the season with 36 goals and 75 points, which is 16 more than his previous career-high.
WHAT WENT WRONG
This is just a ridiculous short-handed goal by Nick Suzuki, but it is equally as ridiculous that the Islanders allowed it when up 3-1, dominating the second period and on the power-play to put the Habs away. Samuel Bolduc's stick was held by Suzuki as he chipped it over Ilya Sorokin who got caught in between, but Bolduc has to be more physical on that way and not let that happen.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per NHL PR, Zach Parise (0-1—1) factored on the go-ahead goal and now has 21-13—34 in 2022-23. Only two players in Islanders history have had more points in a season at age 38 or older: Doug Weight (10-28—38 in 2008-09) and Bill Guerin (16-20—36 in 2008-09).
Brock Nelson (2-0—2) became the 12th player in Islanders history with at least 30 career multi-goal games. His eight multi-goal games this season are the most by an Islanders player since Anders Lee (9 in 2017-18).
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Wednesday nights are usually Brendan Burke’s night to call a national game with TNT Studios. However, with the stakes as high as they were last night, he couldn’t resist switching it up and calling it the last regular season game of the season at UBS Arena. As always, Brendan found the words and set the scene ahead of puck drop.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs, but we don't know when or where!
The Isles will either play either the Boston Bruins or the Carolina Hurricanes, depending on the result of Thursday's game between the Florida Panthers and Hurricanes. A Panthers loss of any kind gives the Islanders the seventh seed and sends them to Carolina for the first round.