New York Islanders Devon Toews
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders down the Chicago Blackhawks as Devon Toews notches his first career goal in a thrilling overtime finish.

Matt Di Giacomo

A memorable first NHL goal for Devon Toews arrived on the 50th New York Islander shot to edge them over the Blackhawks.

The Islanders improved to 3-0-1 at Nassau Coliseum and posted a season-high 50 shots on goal. Entering tonight’s game, the Blackhawks were 6-3-1 in their last ten even with veteran goaltender Cory Crawford on IR.

Soon after, Barzal batted a deflected puck straight into the net with laser-like precision. Of Barzal’s 10 goals in his last 12 games, none was prettier than this display of superior hand-eye coordination.

Barzal not only extended his point streak to six games with his pair of goals, but tallied points 10 and 11 of the streak. He’s proving again why he’s the Islanders representative for the NHL All-Star weekend.

Collin Delia’s monster game for the Blackhawks is worth mentioning. In spite of the loss, Delia made 47 saves and he has posted at least a .938 in each of his four starts this season.

Robin Lehner won his sixth-straight game but suffered a bit statistically given the Hawks only mustered 21 shots on net.

In his fifth-career NHL game, Toews potted his first-career NHL goal and the Islanders’ OT winner at that.

The Islanders are officially rolling with their fifth-straight win, and management has decisions to make once the team begins to get healthy again.

Barzal is rapidly heating up just after his All-Star nomination, the Islanders are getting contributions up and down the lineup despite injury, and most importantly, the tandem of Robin Lehner and Thomas Griess has provided much-needed stability in goal.

In his post-game press conference, Barry Trotz was asked about what happens for the Islanders as players make their way back, to which he replied (via Islanders):

“We’re gonna have a nice problem on our hands for sure. Hicks is getting a little bit closer.”

Trotz expressed positivity for Toews’ overall performance and divulged that Toews could have made the team from camp if not for his injury last January.

As the Islanders continue to get healthy, the team has turned a proverbial corner heading into 2019. Of the 11 games the Isles have left to play in January, only three of those teams currently occupy a playoff spot.

If there were a time to continue to push, it’s now. The Islanders are heating up, and judging by their needs the trade deadline could prove to be a more eventful one given the team’s standing and of course Lou Lamoriello at the helm.

The Islanders next game will be in St. Louis on Saturday with puck drop slated for 8:00 p.m EST.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.