Islanders Jet Past Winnipeg 5-2 At Home
Steve Giangaspro on Tue, 2013-04-02 21:17
As the season winds down, a playoff berth for the Islanders becomes more realistic with each passing day. For a team that has played so poorly during stretches this year, they still find themselves in the mix for a playoff spot.
The Islanders are playing meaningful games in April and shortened season or not, that is a big deal.
They took the ice on Tuesday night to face a Jets team that was handled by the Rangers the night before. The Islanders took a bus ride over from New Jersey and looked to remain hot. The excited Isles took the ice at home after beating the Devils just 24 hours prior.
With the Isles playing so well, you would think that the Coliseum would have been filled and waiting for their streaking heroes. Sadly, that wasn't the case.
But with the consistency and inspiring play, the fans will eventually fill the arena. If they can continue this push and host a few playoff games, it will be a tough ticket to get your hands on out in Nassau.
The Islanders welcomed Anders Lee on Monday into the fold signing him officially. Their future cog and highly touted prospect was slated to start on Tuesday. He was seen trotting out of the locker room wearing the prolific number 27 in Islanders history.
Perhaps it was the spirit of other great 27s in Isles' history such as Derek King, John Tonelli and Michael Peca that willed Lee's first shot through Pavelac's legs. Maybe it was just blind luck. No matter the explanation may be, it was great.
The Islanders played inspiring hockey and withstood everything the Jets could muster to throw their way. The Islanders fell down 2-1 and they weren't phased by the obstacle. They kept the pressure aimed in the Winnipeg zone and eventually Colin McDonald broke through to tie the game.
It was Frans Nielsen that decided the game. His nicely placed shot gave the Islanders the lead and they never looked back. Adding a long awaited Matt Moulson goal, and a John Tavares empty netter, they cruised to a 5-2 win at home.
With the win, the Islanders moved up the standings with 39 points. They not only surpassed the Rangers, they are now tied with the Devils who sit as the 7th seed. The Isles' could realistically aim their sights higher than the 8th seed.
The most inspiring part of the way they are playing is the secondary scoring. The Isles are getting production from every line and almost every player. During this great stretch of hockey, they are not having to rely heavily on the top line of Tavares-Moulson-Boyes.
Kevin Poulin was the winning goaltender for the first time since February 2012. It was also the first time all season that the Islanders were victorious when Evgeni Nabokov was given the night off.
With Moulson's goal, the top line could be stirring. Once they are clicking like they were earlier in the season, the Islanders' offense could be even more dangerous.
In this shortened season, fans were promised that the unpredictable could happen.
It is time to look past the missed opportunties of home losses and blown leads in the 3rd period. Eyes have to face forward now and remain focused at the task at hand.
The playoffs are within reach and the future could be now. After the Kings raised the Stanley Cup as an 8th seed last season, all teams have to look at themselves as legitimate contenders if they have a hot goaltender. Evgeni Nabokov is as hot as it comes right now.
Just get to the dance, Isles.
The Islanders will be in action on Thursday looking to sweep the season series against Washington.