ELMONT, NY — After dropping three games heading into a pivotal matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the first of a back-to-back with a matchup up in Boston less than 24 hours later, the New York Islanders overcame a two-goal deficit to win 5-4.
That win not only snapped their skid but also had them back in a playoff spot, tied with the Penguins for the top wild-card seed.
“Feels really good,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said after potting two and playing a critical role in the win. “Good hockey game, back and forth game. High Intensity. We stuck with it. A couple moments here where we weren’t at our best, but we didn’t give up at all.”
“We fought this one off to the end and credit from Sorokin on out. Our guys stuck with it, and we found a way tonight, and that’s exactly what we needed to start this weekend. And let’s just build off it. It was a big moment tonight. Let’s enjoy it for a little bit here, but back to work tomorrow.”
The Islanders found themselves down 3-1 less than six minutes into the second when Islanders head coach Lane Lambert elected to call his timeout.
Zach Parise, who scored the game-winner with 2:43 to play in the third, didn’t divulge Lambert’s whole message.
“Wake up was pretty much the gist of it,” Parise said, followed by laughter.
Doubtful that it was a E for Everyone kind of conversation.
Lambert, after the game, had this to say about the timeout.
“I thought we had way, way better, and there was way more to be had from our guys,” Lambert said. “So that was basically the message.”
Despite how bad the Islanders played through the first 30 minutes of the game, they were resilient, and it paid dividends scoring three unanswered goals.
While it’s too early to call this win a season-saver, Parise and the Islanders understood the importance of winning games against teams ahead of them.
“We got teams that are climbing behind us, with games in hand. We got teams we’re trying to catch,” Parise said. “There’s just not a lot of room for error for us. So right now, huge…huge.
“We understood the importance of it. And the crowd understood the importance of it too. So it just made for a good atmosphere.”
As for how the Islanders were able to crawl there way back into the game, a game in which seemed to be on it’s way to a route, quite frankly, early in the second, Brock Nelson spoke on the belief in the room, which through their struggles hasn’t wavered.
“Just the belief. It’s been a while since we had a couple of games where we came back and won, but knowing that we can do it at home, taking advantage of key moments, the power play being one of it. It was huge to get that goal there.
And in the third, we got more of our game and more pressure.”
The New York Islanders now go into Boston to face the best team in the league, the Bruins. Puck drop is slated for 5 PM ET.