Brock Nelson‘s reviewed goal and Robin Lehner‘s fifth shutout secured a 2-0 win for the New York Islanders over the Arizona Coyotes.
- New York Islanders 2 (Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson)
- Arizona Coyotes 0 (36-33-7, 79 points)
- Box Score, NHL, Final
- Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
The New York Islanders have answered Barry Trotz’s challenge by sweeping two games this weekend and can now secure their playoff spot as early as Tuesday.
Facing the risk of tumbling further down the standings in back-to-back shutout losses, the Islanders were able to match the intensity from their opponents rather than continue to cave-in.
Nick Leddy was in vintage form in his individual rush to the net. His rebound was exactly what Jordan Eberle came in searching for and at just under five minutes in, the Islanders set the tone for the remaining 55.
Though the Coyotes would push back in much of the third period, the Islanders successfully withstood and frustrated them.
Robin Lehner returned to his usual self over the last two games and turned aside all 31 Coyotes shots. Lehner’s fifth shutout of the season is a career-high, and for the first time in Islanders history, two different goaltenders have at least five shutouts each.
Lehner with a beauty of a save
— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) March 24, 2019
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 24, 2019
The veterans aren’t the only ones getting praise from Trotz, as he recognized Tanner Fritz‘s hustle at even strength and on the penalty kill.
The Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers earlier on Sunday, helping them maintain a one-point lead in the Metropolitan division.
For the Islanders to set up a potential clinching scenario on Tuesday, the Blue Jackets must lose against the Vancouver Canucks tonight. If the Jackets lose, and the Islanders beat the Jackets in regulation this Tuesday, they will have officially punched their ticket to the post-season after a two-year absence.
As for the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders have to at least stay within one point of the Washington Capitals until their final game on April 6. That would set up a scenario where the Islanders would need a regulation win to surpass them in points, or set up a potential goal-differential tie-breaker scenario.
Regardless, the New York Islanders are set to keep pushing towards clinching their spot and beyond.