The Islanders have one of the most explosive offenses in the NHL. What’s held them back all season has been their goaltending and defense. For a brief time at least, their goaltending seems to be hot. Their defense? It’s not exactly inspiring confidence.
Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak led the Islanders to two shutout wins in as many days. Those were two much needed wins against divisional rivals and thanks to them the Islanders now have a slim lead in the playoff race. Their position is far from secure as the Islanders' 64 points in 60 contests keeps them vulnerable to Columbus (63 points in 58 games) and Carolina (63 points in 59 games), but certainly they’re in a better position now than they were just a couple days ago.
That being said, Greiss and Halak needed to stop a combined 95 shots to earn those shutouts. That’s impressive for the goaltenders, but it also highlights one of the Islanders’ big weaknesses this season. The Islanders are dead last in the league with their average of 36.2 shots allowed per game. That’s something that they need to improve upon because it’s unreasonable to expect Halak and Greiss to have many nights like their last two – especially given their track record for much of the 2017-18 campaign.
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PHILADELPHIA 2 COLUMBUS 1 (OT)
Sean Couturier scored the overtime winner. It was his 29th goal and 58th point in 58 games.
Wayne Simmonds found the back of the net for Philadelphia. With that, he’s reached the 20-goal milestone for five consecutive seasons.
Michal Neuvirth turned aside 35 of 36 shots last night. He has an 8-7-3 record, 2.48 GAA, and .919 save percentage in 20 games.
Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 23 of 25 Flyers shots. While he got the loss, this is the third straight start where he’s surrendered two or fewer goals.
Cam Atkinson netted the Blue Jackets’ goal. He has 10 markers and 20 points in 42 games.
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NY ISLANDERS 3 CAROLINA 0
Teuvo Teravainen tied for a team-high with five shots against Greiss. Teravainen has 13 goals on 131 shots for a 9.9% success rate.
Johnny Boychuk scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. He’s up to four goals and 10 points in 39 games.
Anthony Beauvillier also found the back of the net for the Islanders. He has 14 markers and 21 points in 49 contests.
Cam Ward kicked out 20 of 22 Islanders shots. He has a 17-8-3 record, 2.58 GAA, and .912 save percentage in 30 games.
WINNIPEG 6 COLORADO 1
Connor Hellebuyck earned his 30th win of the season by stopping 30 of 31 shots. He’s the second goalie to reach that milestone this season after Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s also just the second goaltender in Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets history to reach that mark with the other being Kari Lehtonen in 2006-07. Of course, that says more about the young franchise’s goaltending struggles than it does about Hellebuyck.
At the other end of the ice, Jonathan Bernier stopped 16 of 20 shots through two periods. An injury prevented him from coming back out for the third, so Semyon Varlamov stepped in and saved six of eight shots.
Blake Wheeler scored two goals and registered an assist. He has 16 markers and 64 points in 58 games.
Mark Scheifele assisted on three of the Jets’ six goals. He’s up to 17 goals and 45 points in 42 contests.
Mikko Rantanen netted the Avalanche’s goal. It was his 18th marker and 53rd point in 56 games.
DALLAS 2 ST. LOUIS 1
Stephen Johns scored the game-winning goal. The defenseman has eight markers and 13 points in 55 games this season.
Mattias Janmark accounted for Dallas’ other marker. That gives him 16 goals and 30 points in 58 games.
Brayden Schenn found the back of the net for St. Louis. He has 24 goals and 55 points in 60 contests.
Jake Allen stopped 14 of just 16 shots last night. He has a 19-17-2 record, 2.72 GAA, and .908 save percentage in 41 games.
Ben Bishop kicked out 28 of 29 Blues shots. That gives him a 24-15-3 record, 2.46 GAA, and .919 save percentage in 44 contests.