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New York Islanders Notch Much Needed Victory (Highlights)

The New York Islanders scratched out a much-needed 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.

By Justin Weiss

Here’s how Monday night played out for the New York Islanders as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by the score of 5-2.

First off, the Isles magic number is now down to two.

Pulock Shoots, Pulock Scores

Ryan Pulock found the back-of-the-net for the Isles tonight. In other words, he’s earned another week off if head coach Jack Capuano gets his way.

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The Isles’ decision-maker has some peculiar infatuation with his old blueliners (we’re talking to you, Brian Strait and Marek Židlický), and has refused to play both Pulock and Pelech (when healthy) this season.

While Pulock hasn’t been the strongest defensive defenseman, he’s netted two goals courtesy of his blistering slapshot.

The rookie defenseman also had a fight, and consistently displayed grit and emotion.

Isles Change The Lines

Likely soon-to-be-fired head coach Jack Capuano played with his lines, pairing the struggling captain, John Tavares, with Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, and putting Shane Prince and Josh Bailey on Brock Nelson‘s wings.

And, if you didn’t know, Cappy unleashed his wrath  to the on the offensive threesome of Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Bailey earlier today to the Daily News:

“There’s no surprises. We need Strome to be better. We need Brock to be better. We need Bailey to be better. We need guys to be better if we’re going to have any chance at all. They see it, it’s black and white. The video doesn’t lie. It doesn’t come down to X’s and O’s, it doesn’t come down to systems. It comes down to how hard you want to compete.”

He went on to say:

“We’ve struggled with a few guys, for sure, about their compete level and their work ethic. It has to be better. … The guys mentioned need to pick their shit up and start playing.”

Guess the not singling out guys shtick is over for Capuano.

The Return?

Adam Pelech, the rookie defenseman who was enjoying an impressive debut before suffering an undisclosed (and what everybody believed to be season-ending) injury, may return for the playoffs, Arthur Staple of Newsday reported.

“That would be amazing. If you’d told me when it happened I might have a chance to play in the playoffs this year, it’d be hard to believe.”

What happened was that Pelech acquired thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of the blood vessels running from the upper body to the arms.

“My right side started swelling up, there was some tightness and kind of a bluish-purplish color. I went to the trainers and they felt it could have been a blood clot, since those are some of the symptoms. I went to a hospital in Brooklyn, they did an ultrasound and showed it was a clot, so I went to North Shore [University Hospital] in Long Island for a few more days of tests.”

Maya’s Rainbow

Fans who tuned into MSG’s first intermission report were exposed to the story of Maya Rachel Cohen, a 5-year-old girl who tragically passed of a rare and hidden heart condition on December 13th.

Her father Seth told MSG:

“Every single thing she did had a rainbow on it. It was just who she was.”

Her family set up a GoFundMe page in her honor, and raised $8,260 in the span of two months. To learn more about her story, please visit her website.

Thanks to Eric Hornick for posting the following about Maya on his blog:

Maya was so proud to be an Islanders fan. Her last self portrait was in her Islanders Jersey. Before leaving the house for her last manicure, she ran up to us to tell us she was going to get orange and blue nails for the Islanders, and she did! She was so proud of her manicure. When one of the boys at school asked her if her nails were for the Mets, she quickly explained, “No! They are Islanders colors!” That’s our girl.

Magic Number

The Isles’ magic number was diminished to two following the team’s victory tonight. That means that the Islanders are two points away from the postseason, and can return if they win one more game, the Boston Bruins lose one more game, or the two teams combine for two points.

Here are the two team’s upcoming schedules:

ISLES: 4/5 @ Washington, 4/7 @ NY Rangers, 4/9 vs. Buffalo, 4/10 vs. Philadelphia
Boston: 4/5 vs. Carolina, 4/7 vs. Detroit, 4/9 vs Ottawa

Injuries Galore

The Isles hoped that the Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski and Travis Hamonic regular season ending injuries would be all to hit Barclays Center.

Instead, the team continued their injury scourge when both Calvin de Haan and Cal Clutterbuck were taken to the dressing room for further evaluation, although Clutterbuck later returned.

de Haan suffered an apparent right knee injury after blocking a Nikita Kucherov shot, while Clutterbuck went hard into-the-boards after taking a high stick to the face.


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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.