The New York Islanders prolonged their season with a resounding victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
On Thursday night, the Islanders’ rookie head coach, Doug Weight, spoke about his team’s recent run: “They’ve wrapped their heads around it and really grasped it,” he said.
Weight’s comments highlighted the first of two approaches to the Isles’ late-season push: in the face of adversity, the team has responded really well. The other approach, pushed by a vociferous faction of the team’s fanbase, has been to discredit these wins. “Where was this two weeks ago?” these people have asked.
We’ll take the first approach. Is it dispiriting that this team likely won’t make the playoffs? For sure. Did they have a bevy of opportunities to prevent this from happening? No doubt.
But most of us assumed that their season was over in December. And again in February. And again in March. When the Isles could’ve folded, they kept going. They didn’t quit. That’s a team you want to root for.
“I think it’s a credit to the guys in the locker room,” Anders Lee said of the Isles’ run to the final spot. “We are a resilient group and we’ve fought out of a lot of stuff this year and we’re not going to go down easy.”
Jaroslav Hálak sparked the Islanders during their 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. He stopped all 29 shots he saw, and got help from Brock Nelson, Scott Mayfield and Andrew Ladd. “The biggest factor honestly has been Jaro,” Ladd said. “Jaro has been a rock back there for us.”
Neil Best of Newsday poses an intriguing question: if the Isles are tied near the end of regulation or overtime, does Doug Weight pull his goalie to gain valuable help in the ROW (regulation and overtime wins) tiebreaker?
It seems like just about everybody is talking about how the Isles could advance, including Best, who details the team’s route to the playoffs: win both of the remaining games in regulation or overtime and hope that Toronto finishes 0-1-1.
Sources tell News 4 Buffalo’s Tom Martin that former Islanders forward Kyle Okposo has been discharged from Buffalo General Hospital. Although few details have surfaced, this is a great thing.