After a sluggish start against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, the New York Islanders stayed true to their gameplan and did what they have as of late, as they dominated in the third, winning 3-2.
That win kept them atop the wild-card race, and now they head to Pittsburgh to face a Penguins team that is a point behind them with games in hand.
As I make the trip to Pittsburgh (passenger seat), here’s your latest Islanders mailbag:
The rest of the team needs to look at the 3rd line and ask themselves, “why were they the most successful line tonight?” And the answer is pretty obvious. Follow suit. (enabledswing)
The Islanders third line had themselves a night, especially the duo of Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching. It seemed like they were on the attack each shift, on the forecheck. They outshot their opponents 2-1 in 6:13 minutes as a line, but Lane Lambert did rotate Matt Martin a bit, so take that TOI with a grain of salt.
The style of play, keeping it simple, has allowed for success as of late.
They are starting to look more like the Islanders that went to the Conference championship 2 years in a row playing good defense, getting great goaltending, and holding leads in the 3rd period. (@usp99rx)
This statement couldn’t be more accurate. The Islanders are playing Barry Trotz hockey, that grinding style where they wear their opponents down through two periods and then capitalize. If they can get off to a bit of stronger starts, not necessarily goal-wise but just establishing their game, they will be a tough beat now and if they make the postseason.
When are injured players coming back? (@Nysportssteve1)
Pageau practiced on Monday but did not play Tuesday night. We are not sure if he made the trip to Pittsburgh, but we will find out Thursday morning at morning skate. He seems to be getting close.
Cal Clutterbuck is skating independently, but he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
When the fuck will the Hudson contract be signed? (@alfrdyo9)
Yeah, so watch your mouth. There are children around. Jokes. But seriously.
I wrote that same story on Sunday as I spoke with Hudson Fasching, who said he would “100 percent” sign an extension.
He’s been one of the bigger bright spots of the season.
Was at the game. It seemed like Horvat and Cizikas lost 1 face-off each the whole night. They really dominated. What were their numbers? (@bgarczy)
Isles need to win the next game, period – total focus on the task at hand – We need Pageau back asap to get back to being able to roll 4 lines, and that makes us better n deeper (@caruss18)
With the Pittsburgh Penguins erasing a 4-0 deficit before beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday, that kept them a point behind the Islanders with three games in hand.
Momentum is a crazy thing, and if the Penguins can’t find a way to carry their momentum over from that win, the Islanders should be able to take them down. But only if they play their game.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau returning would be critical, allowing the Islanders to roll four lines. It also would take some pressure off Bo Horvat, who has essentially been playing double time in his absence.
They dominated that game. Score not even remotely indicative of game itself. (@RichZagon1)
The Islanders dominated that game after Casey Cizikas’s goal. The first period wasn’t the prettiest, but once the Islanders tied the game, even after the Sabres scored the equalizer in the third, it was the Islanders game to lose.
The Islanders had eight shots in the first period but finished the game with 39, outshooting the Sabres 31-16 over the final forty.
It seems obvious, but it’s critical, especially for a team who doesn’t have the firepower of other teams, to have possession as much as possible.
Maybe one of Josh’s best goals ever. (@jimkellyny)
Ok, let’s not get carried away. Josh Bailey scored a big goal for New York, but it wasn’t even his best goal of the season.
That goal came in his 1,000th game against the Carolina Hurricanes when he toe-dragged around a few Cane players before roofing a backhander.