The New York Islanders headed into Thursday’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens in Uniondale winners of three out of four, while registering points in each of their last five games. The points are badly needed, as the Isles struggle to stay in playoff contention during a murderous February in which they will face multiple playoff teams.
Montreal looked to have a relatively easy victory all sewn up, leading 3-0 with under three minutes left, when the Isles staged a furious comeback. Matt Moulson and Mark Streit scored 48 seconds apart, and P.A. Parenteau narrowly missed on a game-tying chance with seconds left in regulation.
Seconds later, the Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty scored an empty net goal to secure the win (as well as a hat trick).
After the game, the Islanders Mark Streit acknowledged that the comeback attempt showed the team’s heart, but that picking up points was the most important thing.
“Coming back at the end to score two goals is good,” the defenseman said. “But at the end of the day it’s the win that counts.”
Despite the loss, the Isles have shown they’re not going to lay down during this tough portion of their schedule, which promises to dictate whether they’re going to make a playoff run or completely drop out of contention. With the trade deadline approaching, their level of play over the next few weeks will also be the deciding factor on whether several veteran players are traded or remain on Long Island.
They’ll get no opportunity to rest this weekend, with the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers coming to town Saturday and Sunday. Both teams are currently qualified for the playoffs, and will represent a significant challenge for the Isles to pick up four desperately needed points. If their recent play is any indication, the Islanders won’t make it easy on their opponents.