It came down to the wire, but the Islanders pulled off the win, thanks to a late third period goal by John Tavares, and kept the pressure on their New York City Rivals for the eighth spot in the east.
“I think we played well at times, but all in all I’d say we probably didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Josh Bailey told the media after the game. “But there have been a lot of games we did deserve to win and didn’t. I think it felt nice to bear down and just find a way here and get a good road win.”
The Islanders started the game off quickly scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. Marty Reasoner had an excellent chance in front of the net, but missed the shot. Luckily the Islanders would get a similar chance moments later, this time it being Michael Grabner in front, and he put it past Braden Holtby. Roughly two minutes later Bailey struck for the Isles and gave his squad a 2-0 lead.
But the tide turned in the second period as the Capitals put pressure on the visiting Islanders. Mike Ribeiro cut the deficit to one at the 10:05 mark and three minutes later John Carlson tied the game.
“Two goals in the first ten minutes, there is so much game left,” Tavares explained afterwards. “They’ve been playing well lately. Playing at home they feed off of the crowd and at time we were not playing our best, but we just stuck with it.”
And stick with it they did. The Islanders fought back in the third and with time winding down, Tavares scored the game-winning goal off a great feed from behind the net by Matt Moulson.
“Matt made a great play to me and I was just lucky enough to put it in,” Tavares said of the goal.
The result was a much-needed win for the Islanders, who are still in the thick of things as far as the playoffs are concerned. While they did not move into the eight spot in the east, they did manage to survive the third period which has been their weakest period all season long.
“I think we bore down tonight,” Bailey said of the team’s third period performance. “You can see the guys out there throwing their bodies in front of anything and that’s what it takes.”
After the game Tavares expressed his pleasure with the win, but since the Islanders still sit two points out of a playoff spot, he was not overly ecstatic.
“We don’t have a playoff spot,” he said. “When you grab a playoff spot you want to hold onto it and keep climbing and put teams behind you. So not much has been accomplished just yet. We have to focus on the next game. We’re obviously happy with the result, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if we cant get some momentum here.”