The New York Islanders are fighting for a playoff spot and Johnny Boychuk appears ready to put his face on the line to make the promised land come April.
With the score 0-0 late in the first period in Saturday’s matinee between the Isles and the New York Rangers, Boychuk used his cheek to block what appeared to be a sure goal off the stick of Rangers forward Chris Kreider.
Here’s what commitment looks like:
The Isles ended up losing the game 2-1. They are still in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, level with the Buffalo Sabres in the second spot on 52 points. The Sabres play later on Saturday.
The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, sit one point adrift of both the Isles and the Sabres. The Canadiens also play on Saturday night.
The Isles may have not won the battle on Saturday, but the war for a playoff spot is still to be had. That’s the kind of block that fans will love, especially in early January.