The New York Islanders continue their fight for a playoff spot as they play host to the visiting Southeast Division leading Winnipeg Jets.
The Islanders, having went 3-1 on their recent road trip, look to keep the fire going at home Tuesday night. While impressive on the road, boasting an 11-5-1 record, they have struggled mightily at home posting a 6-11-2 mark. Even mediocre home ice play and the Isles are comfortably in the Stanley Cup chase.
As of now, the Isles are still deadlocked with the New York Rangers, who have a game in hand over the Isles, at 37 points. Both teams find themselves two points behind the 7th place New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders opened up their four game road trip with a big win against the Capitals in D.C. This victory put them, if only temporarily, tied for the last playoff spot. They played with desperation, taking the play to the Capitals immediately.
Around the four minute mark, Marty Reasoner, standing alone in front misses a point blank shot. The Isles kept up the pressure and at 6:25 of the first Grabner nets a beauty on a nice play from Keith Aucoin. Isles 1 Caps 0
The New York Islanders controlled about forty minutes of hockey tonight against the visiting Ottawa Senators but surrendered four unanswered goals in the final period of the game to lose 5-3 in regulation.
Matt Kassian would get the scoring started with a redirection just 6:23 into the first period after Sergei Gonchar let go of a wrister from the point to give the Sens the early lead, but Keith Aucoin would answer with his fifth goal of the year just before the end of the period.
Kyle Okposo made a nice spin around pass from behind the Sens net to find Aucoin to bury the puck through Ben Bishop's five hole. Josh Bailey had the secondary assist.
Despite the tie score, the Islanders created several turnovers in the Senators end of the ice - most notably during shifts from the Okposo-Nielsen-Bailey line.
Over the past few years the New York Islanders may have found consistency on the top line due largely in part to the chemistry between John Tavares and Matt Moulson. But the same cannot be said for much of the depth on offense.
That is until Casey Cizikas began centering Matt Martin and Colin McDonald.
The trio have been playing together as a fourth line, or as head coach Jack Capuano has liked calling them, "the energy line."
On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders took the ice with a new found confidence. This new beaming attitude carried over from their shoot out win against Ottawa on Sunday.
It would be a stretch to say that the home woes are in the past completely. However, there is optimism among the fan base after stringing together two impressive wins at the Coliseum over teams from Canada.
The most promising feature of Tuesday's game had to be the energy that the players exhibited. There was a jump in their step and the Isles kept the pressure on all night long. The Isles' excellent game could be captured in one picture of Casey Cizikas dumping his Montreal foe into the New York bench.
It took a dramatic finish, but the New York Islanders finally won a game on home ice during a Sunday matinee game, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the shootout.
The Islanders got on the board early in the game when Brad Boyes scored his fifth of the year, beating Robin Lehner glove side under the crossbar. The play started when Matt Moulson received a pass from Mark Streit at the Senators blue line and fed Boyes the puck as he was flying up the slot.
Not long after Boyes' goal, Matt Martin was found banging bodies all over the ice. In fact Martin had 6 hits in just over 3 minutes of play during the first period. Senators enforcer Chris Neil took exception to Martin's physical play and challenged him to a fight, but Martin ignored his request and continued to take out Senators along the wall.
He finished with 11 hits on the night. Coming into the game, Martin was just one shy of tying Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott for the league lead of 94 hits.
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.