The Islanders continue to prove that they have turned a corner as a franchise by sticking to the system and completing a comeback win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The second half of back-to-backs are never easy but both teams were in the same situation. The Islanders have looked good in the tail end of back-to-back’s this season posting a 5-1 record after tonight’s 3-1 victory.
The Islanders were firing shots from all over the rink testing out rookie goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Russian netminder was up to the challenge most of the night saving 45 of the 47 shots he faced.
“It just wasn’t good enough tonight,” Brian Boyle said after the game. “Our goalie was really impressive. He gave us a chance to win tonight and he deserved better.”
Although the Islanders limited the Lightning chances, Tampa bay found a way to strike first. Tyler Johnson sent a puck in front that Brett Connolly redirected past Halak to give the bolts a one-goal lead about halfway through the third period.
“It was a little bit disheartening because we were playing well,” Johnny Boychuk said after returning to the lineup just one game ago from an undisclosed upper body injury. “We knew we just had to keep doing the same thing.
With just over three minutes remaining in the third period the Islanders finally got rewarded for their hard work. Tavares and Okposo had a nice little give and go, then the Islanders captain was able to put one past Vasilevskiy.
Just 12 seconds later Anders lee deflected a Travis Hamonic shot and the sold out Coliseum went wild.
“It was pretty exciting, I do not normally celebrate like that,” Anders Lee said after scoring his seventh goal of the season and third game-winning goal. “It was a fun way to score and a fun way to help the team out. When this building is packed the way it is and the chants are loud, it’s a great night for hockey.”
The Islanders have played in front of a sold out crowd seven times this season and have posted a 6-1 record in those contests.
“It was a good hockey game,” Jack Capuano said following the win. “But to me, it was about the fans again. The energy in the building was fantastic and that last 10 minutes the fans gave us that push we needed.”
The Islanders next opponent will be the Atlantic Division leader, the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at the Coliseum.
By: Scott Charles
WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Staff Writer
Islanders Insight Senior Editor
Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny and @Scottmcharles
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