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Rosner: Playoff Hopes Dependent on New York Islanders Resiliency



New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal scores go-ahead goal with over five minutes to play in win over New Jersey Devils on Jan. 13.

The New York Islanders season resumed last night after a 12-day hiatus due to COVID-19. That resumption in play saw a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, which pushed their point streak to five games (4-0-1) and their point streak at UBS Arena to five games (5-0-1).

What the win also did was improve the New York Islanders to 2-0-0 in 2022.

The Islanders sit 16 points out of a wild-card spot with five games in hand on the Boston Bruins, who hold down the final spot with 34 games played to the Islanders 29.

At this point in the season, the Islanders call ill-afford to pay attention to what other teams are doing, but it is easy to get caught up in the standings with how much work the Islanders need to do to push their playoff streak to four straight seasons.

One game at a time had been the saying that associate coach Lane Lambert and his players have used recently, a staple of head coach Barry Trotz who is sidelined with COVID-19 at the moment.

2021 for the Islanders had its memorable moments, with last year’s postseason run at the forefront.

But this season’s wacky start with 13 games on the road, COVID-19, injuries, starts, and stops, there was a whole lot of struggles that put the Islanders in a hole in the Metropolitan Division, one that would not be easy to dig out of.

Two games, two resilient efforts for the Islanders, two 3-2 victories, 12 days apart.

In the game against the Edmonton Oilers, the New York Islanders battled back to tie the game early in the third period before Noah Dobson sent the Islanders faithful into a frenzy.

The defensive play in that game allowed the Islanders to collect the two points, a resilient effort that has been lacking thus far this season.

Again on Thursday, that resiliency was on full display yet again. After a shaky start to the first period, the Islanders went down 1-0 before the halfway point and looked a step or two behind the Devils, a late tally by Josh Bailey tied the contest.

That defensive structure that showed itself against the Oilers was present in the second period on Thursday, having allowed just six shots on goal in the middle frame. The Islanders, whose shots were limited, made the most of their chances to take the lead as Adam Pelech scored his first of the season.

Due to undisciplined play, the Islanders allowed a Devils team every opportunity to tie the game, which they did halfway through the third. Even though the Islanders were outshot 12 to six in the final frame, again the Islanders came through as Mat Barzal scored with under five minutes to play to take the lead, and ultimately the game.

Like a handful of the Islanders this season, the effort has been there from the team but not the results. The Islanders are at their point of the season where effort is just not a good enough result. Wins are needed and, at the very least points.

Resiliency defined the New York Islanders in 2022-21 after top defenseman Adam Pelech went down with an Achilles injury. In 2020-21, captain Anders Lee tore his ACL, and the Islanders had to be resilient yet again.

If the Islanders are going to make the next few months interesting, resiliency will need to be at the forefront of their game.

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