Courtesy Twitter: @NYIslanders

The Islanders look to make it three in a row to kick off crucial week.

The New York Islanders kicked off a challenging but important week against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. The Islanders came into this game second in the division, trailing the Capitals by two points.

They’re in excellent shape in the rankings and are one of the best teams in the league, but every game counts in the hardest division in the league.

Lineup changes:
• Kieffer Bellows in, Ross Johnston out
• Semyon Varlamov in net

1st period: Decent start

The score heading into the second was 0-0, but the first period was eventful. Each team committed penalty, Oliver Wahlstrom had an injury scare, and the goalies made some nice saves to keep this game competitive.

Fans would have liked to see the Islanders get on the board, but their team was more dominant and looked good up and down the ice.


2nd period: Too close for comfort

The Islanders had outshot the Capitals 12-7 in the first, but were then outshot 7-12 in the second. The fact that they committed a penalty here was a contributing factor, of course.

The Islanders had been pretty unlucky offensively, but their excellent defense against one of the best offenses in the league served as a testament to how well they had been playing.

Varlamov deserved praise for keeping his team in the game, as well.


3rd period: Well-deserved shutout

The Islanders outshot the Capitals a whopping 20-10 in the third period. They deserved a shutout and that’s what they got.

Varlamov did everything that was asked of him and more, especially in the third, and Brock Nelson sealed the deal with a late goal, which ended up being the only goal of the game.

Washington goalie Vitek Vanecek had been outstanding all night long, but the Islanders were finally able to beat him. This was a great game for the Islanders that they needed to win. It would’ve been a tough loss.

The Islanders have now won three in a row and have some momentum heading into a crucial stretch in their schedule.


Key Moment: Goal for Brock

The key moment of the game was Nelson’s goal. It was the only goal of the game and allowed the Islanders to emerge victorious in regulation.

Nelson has scored some important goals for his team this season, and this is at the top of the list. The Islanders deserved to score the only goal of the game that ended up the one that gave them the win.


Player of the game: Ryan Pulock

The Islanders’ best defenseman, Ryan Pulock, was their player of the game. He was the best player on the ice offensively and defensively, something he is no stranger to.

Pulock is a significant reason why the Islanders are one of the best teams in the league and have one of the best bluelines in hockey.

Pulock’s stats: 23:09 TOI, 1 A, 58.70 CF%, 0.45 iXG, 1 block, 1.83 xGF, 0.54 xGA, 0.94 GF, 0 GA, 3.69 Game Score, 0.95 defensive rating, 1.89 offensive rating, and 0.85 individual rating.

Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.


Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.