The Islanders completed the four-game season sweep of the New Jersey Devils by winning 3-0 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Jaroslav Halak earned his franchise record 35th win of the season in stellar fashion. The Islanders net minder has been the backbone of this team for much of the season and once again helped his team by delivering a 25 save shutout performance when the team needed it most.
“Through hard work and a lot of belief in this locker room, guys were just trying to dig themselves out of a small slump,” Brian Strait told Islanders Insight follwing the game. “It’s a good step and we got a win. We got nine games left until we get to the playoffs and just want to build every game.”
Ryan Strome tallied the game’s first goal after being a healthy scratch just one week ago against the Montreal Canadiens.
“It definitely felt good to get one early,” Ryan Strome said. “Just to get that confidence back, a little bit, that swagger.”
It was a goaltenders duel for most of the evening until Travis Hamonic blasted a shot to make it 2-0 Islanders. Just as the Islanders’ only power play expired Ryan Strome sent a cross-ice pass setting up his teammate for the one-time opportunity. It was the first time the Islanders were able to score more than one goal since their last win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kyle Okposo also tallied his first goal – albeit on an empty netter – since returning to the lineup on March 10th.
The Islanders played an extremely busy February schedule that helped them gain some much needed rest at this point of the season.
“The three days we just had we were really able to (knock) out a lot of things,” Brian Strait said. “ We hit on a lot of points especially on offense… We were a little bit of a heavier team tonight, which was great to see. We did a lot of good things and just have to keep building.”
The Islanders will head back home for the rest of the month where they will face three tough western conference opponents and the Detroit Red wings.
“We know we got some great teams coming in but we are a great team also,” Strome concluded. “We have to try to answer the bell and it is a great way to get ready for the playoffs.”