The New York Islanders struggled to get anything going on Saturday night, yet they still managed to come away with two points.
These days, everything seems to be breaking the New York Islanders way.
On Saturday night, the Islanders came out of the gate sluggish and flat. That didn’t appear to phase them, as the team clawed its way back from a 2-0 deficit by scoring four consecutive goals in the second and third periods.
Brayden Schenn got the Blues on the board just 4:11 into the game. With three-and-a-half minutes to go in the first period, Zach Sanford snuck one past Robin Lehner, to give St. Louis a 2-0 advantage. That would be the last goal that Lehner would allow until the final two minutes of the game.
By that time, the Islanders had scored four unanswered goals, including two in an 11-second span. Good teams find ways to win games, and the Islanders are a good team.
The Islanders are winners of six consecutive contests, as they move into the first wild-card spot. The club has won nine of its last 10 games, outscoring opponents 23-10 in that span.
Saturday’s victory over the Blues is one of the Islanders’ most impressive to date, not because they played well, but precisely because they didn’t. The Islanders got outshot 32-14 against St. Louis, but they finished off strong and battled through the deficit.
“Burn the tape, get in the van and get outta there,” Arthur Staple of The Athletic tweeted following the 4-3 win. Maybe they should take Vladimir Tarasenko with them.
The Islanders have figured out how to come away with two points this season — no matter how ugly the tape may be.
“I didn’t think we were very good,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “We weren’t hard enough in our own end, we weren’t committed enough offensively — we weren’t good.
“We just found a way and that’s what good teams can do.”
The Islanders have come a long way since last season when they lost a number of games similar to the one they played tonight. The team is rapidly maturing, and Trotz is a big part of the reason. The Stanley Cup-winning coach is quickly emerging as a candidate for the Jack Adams Award, and his team’s 6-5-0 record when trailing after the first period is a tremendous reason why.
Even when the Islanders are struggling, they still manage to find ways to win.
Recently, the Islanders have been convincing more and more skeptics, but not everybody is on their side.
On Friday, Ryan Lambert of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article entitled, “Making the case against the red-hot New York Islanders.” He pointed to figures like Corsi and PDO to explain that the Islanders’ success isn’t likely to last.
But that argument seems to discount what the Islanders have been able to do this season: win games, no matter how much the odds may stack against them.
If they continue to mature as a club, this will just be the beginning.