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Kyle Palmieri’s career-best season helped carry Islanders to playoffs

It was a formality for Kyle Palmieri to reach one statistical milestone on Wednesday, but he needed another to earn a win in the final game of the season against the Penguins. was necessary to achieve.

But the 33-year-old winger, who has had his fair share of injuries in the past, is focused on playing 82 games for the second time in his career, rather than matching his career-high set of 30 goals. Ta. 2016.

“That’s huge,” Palmieri told the Post Wednesday morning. “Especially as you get older, there’s a lot of wear and tear and you play hard. It’s difficult. And sometimes it’s out of your control. Being healthy and able to dress appropriately for No. 82. I was lucky.”


In the first period of the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Penguins, Kyle Palmieri, who would later score his 30th goal of the season, took a shot that missed Alex Nedeljkovic.
In the first period of the Islanders’ 5-4 win over the Penguins, Kyle Palmieri, who would later score his 30th goal of the season, took a shot that missed Alex Nedeljkovic. Noah K. Murray/New York Post

He ended up doing both, scoring his 30th goal on a power-play one-timer from the left circle at 19:44 of the second period in an eventual 5-4 Islanders victory. . Of course, playing in his 82nd game was just a formality. .

Palmieri joins Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat as 30-point players this season, marking the first time since the 1993-94 season that the Isles have had at least three players reach 30 points.

This is the second time Palmieri has reached the 30-point mark, meaning he finished the season with 54 points, the second-most in his career.

That’s as much a coincidence of good health as anything that changes dramatically on the ice.

“I’m very happy for the Palms,” coach Patrick Roy said. “He’s been a leader on our team. He’s been playing very well. Seeing him get rewarded with an incredible pass before scoring that goal, that one-timer. It’s great to see him in that position.”

Palmieri has been a difference-maker, especially in the second half of the year.

He had 12 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in the final 10 games of the season, with just one game without a point.


Kyle Palmieri (right) celebrates with Samuel Bolduc after scoring his 30th goal of the season in the second period of the Islanders' victory.
Kyle Palmieri (right) celebrates with Samuel Bolduc after scoring his 30th goal of the season in the second period of the Islanders’ victory. AP

“Of course, when you’re in the position we were in before, you should try to improve your game as much as possible,” he said. “Realistically, we’re doing everything we can to help our team win hockey games. Some of them are really staying focused and keeping it simple and putting the puck in the net. .The equation doesn’t change much for me.

Given the Islanders’ position in the standings as of April 1, it’s unlikely they would have made it to the postseason if Palmieri hadn’t gotten hot.

This was a case where every contribution from each player was desperately needed, and Palmieri was undoubtedly April’s MVP.

“He’s putting the puck in his chances,” Anders Lee said. “He’s got chances every night, but he’s had some really big moments. I remember the Philadelphia game. [the game-winning assist in overtime]I remember the game against Montreal. [the game-winning goal in overtime] And I think he just does a great job of finding his spots and jumping on rebounds and making perfect shots and making great plays.

“So I think he’s taking advantage of his opportunities. When you look at it, I think you can see he’s playing with a lot of confidence and great ability right now. It’s great timing for us.”

Needless to say, Palmieri continuing to play at this level in the postseason would dramatically help the Islanders’ chances of pulling off an upset against Carolina in the first round.

He has a history of improving his game in the playoffs, tying Brock Nelson for the team lead with seven goals in the 2021 postseason.

The numbers certainly confirm this is one of Palmieri’s best seasons — he entered Wednesday tied for the second-most points of his career.

The same goes for his own evaluation. But in his mind, he thinks it’s less about goals and assists and more about availability.

“I’m really confident and just preparing my body the best it can,” Palmieri said. “Obviously I was lucky that nothing happened. For me, it’s really just about being in the lineup every night and trying to help the team win.”

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