With the exception of a tough 6-5 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday, the New York Islanders have been on a roll lately. Tonight’s 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators was arguably their most encouraging win in a while though.
Jaroslav Halak, who has been a mixed bag this season despite his presence bringing some must-needed stability to the Islanders’ goaltending situation, was solid tonight, turning aside 28 of 30 shots. He was given an early 3-0 lead to work with, although there had to be a sense of dread after the Predators reduced that edge to one goal by the end of the second frame.
The Islanders have been a strong starting team this season, but haven’t been as impressive in the third period while the Predators rank fourth in the league in third-period goals. So the setup for another late game collapse like the one they suffered against the Rangers was there, but instead the Islanders got insurance goals from Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey midway through the final frame to cement the victory.
On top of all that, this was two points against the NHL-leading squad while the Islanders’ previous six victories came against teams that don’t currently hold playoff spots.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers both lost tonight, so the Islanders now have a five-point cushion in the battle for the Metropolitan Division title.