New York Islanders
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The New York Islanders will look to repeat the performance they had on Monday to shut down another playoff hopeful in Montreal.

The New York Islanders earned a much-needed two points against Columbus and are looking to keep playing “Islanders hockey” the rest of the season.

Cal Clutterbuck phrased it best in his post-game interview with Cory Wright:

“I think that’s what we needed to get out of the little rut we were in,” CAL CLUTTERBUCK said. “We just needed someone coming in who is hungry and ready to play and who forces us to elevate our level. I think we elevated our level.”

Hungry is an understatement for a desperate Blue Jackets team who went “all-in” this past trade deadline.

After trade rumors surrounded both Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin the entire season, GM Jarmo Kekäläinen instead doubled down on his bet, acquiring Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene.

Conversely, the Islanders — who were in the midst of nearly every trade for a big-name scorer — stood pat at the deadline and reinforced their faith in the current group.

Prior to their back-to-back wins over Ottawa, the Islanders had won just two of their last seven games. In losses to both Calgary and Edmonton, the Islanders allowed four goals for the first time since Jan. 8 vs. Carolina.

They had not allowed four goals in back-to-back games since early November.

During this time of the season, points are in increasingly higher demand. Though they managed to collect four in a home and home series against Ottawa, everyone knew it was too close for comfort against the 31st overall NHL team.

Just as the edge started to wear off for the NHL’s best defensive team, Barry Trotz provided the spark needed in an intense practice session.

Injury Update

Robin Lehner left in the third period of the Islanders-Senators first game at Nassau Coliseum after a collision with Brady Tkachuk.

In his absence, Thomas Greiss helped the Islanders to a shootout win and posted a 3-1-0 record. Through three games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Greiss now owns a shutout streak of 151:27 dating back to the Isles’ 3-2 win on Dec. 1.

The good news for the team is that Lehner may be available for the game against the Montreal Canadiens, and if he can, he’ll likely start. So far this season, it’s worth noting that both Lehner and Greiss started in 36 and 33 games respectively. Since January, Lehner has started in 19 games compared to Greiss’ 12.

Defensively, the Islanders will be without Johnny Boychuk for the immediate future. Barry Trotz stated there is no cause for concern, and that he should be considered day-to-day rather than week-to-week.

Thomas Hickey slotted in nicely on the Isles’ blueline in his two games back from injury and will likely regain his spot in the lineup during Boychuk’s absence.

MSG's Fan Central

As the Islanders continue to chase down a playoff spot (and hopefully the Metropolitan Division), MSG Networks is launching a new initiative to further engage with the fanbase. To mark the occasion, they have launched the Isles Pride Fan Contest.

IslesPride is a way to ignite fan passion as the playoffs get nearer with the Nassau Coliseum hosting NHL playoff hockey for the first time in four years.

To enter, fans have to upload a photo of themselves expressing their fandom in their favorite Islanders gear. Every entry is an opportunity to win awesome prizes which include three pairs of tickets to the remaining home games and five drawings for Isles merchandise.

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.