The New York Islanders completed a successful home-and-home sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night with a 3-2 shootout win, coming just 48 hours after beating them in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
The star of Thursday’s game had to be starting goaltender Thomas Greiss as he turned aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced during regulation and overtime, and then all three shots he faced in the shootout.
He was at his best in the overtime period when he made an incredible pad save along the goal line to rob Penguins defense Jack Johnson of a potential winner, and then an incredible glove save on Phil Kessel at the buzzer to send the game to the shootout.
Perhaps the most highlight reel worthy play of the overtime period was this play to thwart the breakaway attempt of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
Crosby had a clear, wide open breakaway from the center red line and looked to have the game on his stick.
Then Thomas Greiss did this.
The best way to make sure Crosby can not score a goal: Do not let him get the shot on goal. It was, to say the least, gutsy. If he fails, he looks like a doofus as Crosby skates around him and deposits the puck into an empty net. If he succeeds, he looks like a gutsy genius. He succeeded.
Josh Bailey, who scored a shorthanded goal during the game, scored the game-winner in the shootout.
With the win the Islanders moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division, matching the Penguins with 15 total points in the standings.
The biggest factor in the Islanders’ early season success has probably been the performance of their two goalies as they have a combined save percentage over .930 on the season, helping the team sit near the top of the league when it comes to preventing goals against.
On Thursday night, it was Greiss making the big saves.
The Islanders have now won four games in a row.