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Islanders close in on playoff deficit thanks to victory over Red Wings

DETROIT — Don’t call the Islanders dead just yet.

It may prove to be too little, too late in the end, but after defeating the Red Wings 5-3, with a significant road swing and their first real momentum in three weeks, they have a significant road swing and first real momentum in three weeks. He returned home with 4 points out of 4 in 2 games. Thursday night.

A close playoff lead that seemed almost out of reach earlier in the week is now five points behind the third-place Flyers.

It’s not an ideal place to be here on March 1st. However, with the Flyers expected to sell at the trade deadline, the Islanders appear to be in position to pounce.

During the second period of the Islanders’ 5-3 win, Matthew Barzal picks up a spilled puck in front of Ben Chiarot. NHLI (via Getty Images)

“I was very impressed with our group tonight,” coach Patrick Roy said. “Even when [Detroit made] It was a 2-1 game, but we didn’t change the game. When they scored early in the third period, we couldn’t change the game. They led 3-2, but the flow of the game did not change. I think the dressing room really worked to end this situation and turn things around. ”

Through the final period, which started with the Islanders holding a 2-1 lead that was already cut in half, this had all the makings of the kind of game they’ve failed to do so many times this season.

They didn’t have enough possession, especially after taking the lead.

While the top six, still rookies, seemed to understand each other, the bottom two lines were on even more of a learning curve.

The other shoe felt like it was about to drop, especially after a second period that the Islanders spent on their heels.

In fact, it looked like Patrick Kane would do just that when he came off the ice on the first faceoff of the third period and scored just 10 seconds into the game, tying the game at two.

Moritz Sider controls the puck as Casey Cizikas applies pressure in the second period of the Islanders’ win. NHLI (via Getty Images)

But instead of going back into their defensive shell, taking penalties, or doing the other things that have cost the Islanders games in similar spots this year, the Islanders went on a power play of their own, with Brock Nelson scoring one point. Breaking through and scoring, Alex Lyon scored his second goal of the night from the right circle to retake the lead within five minutes.

From there, the see-saw took another turn when Olli Maata scored his second goal of the game from the right circle at 10:49 of his third goal, ending a long offensive zone move for Detroit and tying the game once again.

Once again, the Islanders had an answer, with 6:02 remaining when Mathieu Barzal banked a Lyon puck out of position from the bottom of the right circle.

“I think we gave up a couple of tying goals in the third. After the goal goes into the net and we go get another one, what can we really do?” Cal Clutterbuck wrote for the Post. told. “We’ve got to give our guys props to go out and do the next shift and get it done.”

Maintaining that lead won’t be easy as the Red Wings continue to pose a constant threat.

However, Ilya Sorokin was up to the task with an outstanding performance of 22 saves, including a left toe stop out of nowhere with some help from the post on Kane’s chance that looked like he was going to go into the open net in the 15th inning. . 47 mark in the final period.

This was a version of Sorokin competing with Vezina when the Islanders needed him, capping off the win with an empty-net goal from Pierre Envall. It was the Islanders’ first goal of the season.

Better late than never.

Ilya Sorokin makes a save in the Islanders’ win over the Red Wings. NHLI (via Getty Images)

“It’s easy to say when things go your way,” Clutterbuck said when asked if he felt it was different from similar games where the bench went the other way. “We were able to get an empty netter and we were able to do what we had to do. But yeah, I think so. Keep your mind positive. That’s what we talked about. Just like everything else, just try it out and then reset.

“The goal is still the same. We have to win the hockey game, and we have to score one more to get it.”

Too often this season, the Islanders have failed to implement that mindset.

That’s the biggest reason they’re in the standings, and it’s going to take more than a long way to fix it.

Brock Nelson is congratulated by his teammates after scoring in the Islanders’ victory. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

But this could be a start.

“I think we can move forward with that,” Roy said. “I’m going home now. Let’s give the fans great hockey. Let’s give the fans a win. I think they deserve it. They’ve been very patient with us. .”

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