Image Credit: NY Islanders

Image Credit: NY Islanders

The New York Islanders 5-4 shootout win in Winnipeg was a microcosm of the brilliant run that has produced some of their best hockey to date.

Since these two met earlier in Nassau Coliseum on April 2, the Isles have won six out of eight games, with only one shootout loss to Washington and a overtime classic defeat to the New York Rangers. Since the Ranger loss the Islanders have defeated Florida 5-2, Toronto on the road 5-3, and now the shootout win over Winnipeg.

The credit for this turnaround has to go to two trouble stops all year, defense and goaltending. Players like Visnovsky, Boyes, and Hamonic scored their share of goals but made mental mistakes which cost them many a game this year.

But with the addition of rookie Thomas Hickey, the physical play of Matt Martin and Matt Carkner, and Andrew McDonald, especially on the boards has made life easier for goalie Nabokov.

The play of Evegeni has taken a turn for the best. Often playing well while playing with bad fortune, Evegeni has been stellar in goal looking like Billy Smith at times with his stick work and side to side sweeps. He has also represented the turn in luck for the Islanders.

This was highlighted near the end of the second period with the Islanders down two men with under thirty seconds to play. the Jets worked the puck and scored on a slapshot. But the referees waived it off saying that the red light went off before the score. With the game even at 2-2 at that point, it was major break.

The teams traded goals in the third. After a scoreless overtime, the shootout came and John Tavares once again scored the goal that won the shootout 2-1. Coach Capuano recognized the effort it took to win this one. “It was one of the quicker games I’ve been involved in. It was like a track meet.”

John Tavares play has been at a superstar level and his 26 goals and heady play have contributed to the Islanders 11-1-2 run in its last 14 games. He scored twice up in Toronto to fuel the 5-3 win there. And with Winnipeg fighting desperately for the final playoff spot, the Isles withstood a major test.

John expected as much. “I think we knew it would have a playoff atmosphere.” The last three games will be on Tuesday against Carolina, Wednesday vs The Flyers and Friday against the Sabres, all three not being in playoff contention should make it an easier road, a place where New York has done well all year.

The Islanders are now sixth with a 24-16-5 mark, second in their division and with 53 points they are two ahead of seventh place Ottawa and the eighth place Rangers

About Luis Vásquez

A ten year veteran in the field of freelance writing and editing. Among the publications he has written for is Defining TrendsMagazine, and NYC Sporting News. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

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