The New York Islanders could have been staring a five-game losing skid in the face with just one game left on a five-game homestand. Despite a contest against a struggling Montreal Canadiens team, the way the Islanders were playing left no guarantees of coming out on top.
Although the Islanders weren’t at their best against the Canadiens, they jumped on Montreal early with two quick goals and came away with the slim 2-1 win.
Given where the Islanders are in the tough Metropolitan Division, a win is a win, and now the Islanders are back in the playoff picture.
After the game, the conversation in the locker room was about players holding one another accountable, challenging each other in the process.
“I think between your last two games with Dallas and Minnesota, we did play some good hockey, and for us to come out here tonight and respond the way we did just shows the character in this room,” goal scorer Casey Cizikas said. “Guys were challenged, and we did well.”
As for what he meant by that: “[Challenged] by each other. We know what type of team we have in here, and we know what we can do when we work as a group. And that’s something we have to do for a complete game, and I thought we did that.”
“We didn’t fold. We kept putting our nose to the grind and doing what we had to to get the win.”
Islanders captain Anders Lee spoke about accountability:
“There’s been conversations. That stays with us in the room,” Lee said. “But holding guys to a standard that we believe in. We believe in this group. We believe in one another. And sticking with each other, having each other’s backs, and demanding the best from the guy sitting next to you and yourself…It’s an accountability thing. And that’s what gives you success.”
Head coach Lane Lambert gave all the credit to his players:
“I mean, players take ownership,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “They have to, and they did a really good job of having that commitment, and I thought our leadership’s done a good job, and it was huge to get the win.”