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Islanders shut out Predators, control their own playoff destiny

April 7, 2024, 6:03 PM ET [209 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The New York Islanders kicked off their three-game homestand with another crucial win last night, defeating the Nashville Predators 2-0 to extend their win streak to four games.


We saw a fairly even opening frame to start, where New York may have had more sustained pressure at times, but also gave up some chances (most just off their own mistakes). Bo Horvat did have a great opportunity for the Islanders, ringing a shot off the post with about six minutes to go in the frame, but between that and some timely saves from Semyon Varlamov, the game remained scoreless through 20 minutes.

The second frame then got off to a relatively quiet start, until midway through the period, Noah Dobson took a pass from Mike Reilly and fired a shot through traffic to beat Kevin Lankinen, opening the scoring for New York. The teams traded some unsuccessful power plays from there, with Kyle Palmieri having a good chance to extend the lead shorthanded on a 2-on-1 as well that he couldn't convert on, but the period ended with the Islanders still ahead by one.

Nashville did have opportunities to even the game with a couple of consecutive power plays in the first half of the third period, but after the Islanders killed them off, Mathew Barzal nearly managed to double the lead, hitting iron for New York’s second post of the game. But late in the third with Nashville pressing and their net empty, Kyle Palmieri sent the puck down ice into the empty goal, securing the 2-0 win for the Islanders.


The statement remains true for pretty much any game at this point, but what a big win for New York.

The Islanders entered the game with a bit of momentum coming off their three straight wins, but the reality was the last two of those came against a fairly low quality of competition, so it was a little more up in the air as to how they'd perform against a better team in the Predators.

But New York put together another fairly solid defensive performance, even if they did rely on Semyon Varlamov as well. Varlamov was tasked with 41 saves for his shutout, after Patrick Roy went back to him following two straight games with Ilya Sorokin in net. You can’t really question Roy’s decisions when it comes to goalies, and especially over the last number of games, the Sorokin/Varlamov tandem has given them the goaltending they need. That said, with Varlamov red-hot right now, you do have to think in a must-win scenario, there’s a decent chance he gets the nod.

The other key in the win was New York’s penalty kill actually coming up clutch. They managed to go 3-for-3 in kills, and if Nashville capitalized on one of those third period power plays, it could've been a very different outcome.

There was also a nice moment for Barry Trotz, getting a standing ovation in his return. While his dismissal was likely undeserved, Trotz had such a huge role in helping the Islanders get back in a position to be a competitive team from year to year, and it was great to see the recognition.

The win over Nashville, along with some losses for their competition between Friday and Saturday, leave the Islanders in a spot where they now control their own playoff destiny, with five games to go. Here’s the updated situation for the final two East playoff spots:

- 85 points, 5 games left: New York Islanders
- 83 points, 5 games left: Pittsburgh Penguins
- 83 points, 4 games left: Philadelphia Flyers
- 82 points, 6 games left: Washington Capitals
- 82 points, 6 games left: Detroit Red Wings

In scoreboard watching for Sunday: the Red Wings are currently facing the Buffalo Sabres, while the Washington Capitals will also host the Ottawa Senators later today.

But after an impressive stretch, New York has managed to put themselves back in a situation for success. The Islanders will continue their homestand on Tuesday, when they host the New York Rangers.



OTHER ARTICLES FROM APRIL

- Islanders must bounce back for biggest game of season vs. Flyers
- Islanders stay alive after sweeping back-to-back set
- Islanders' playoff chances continue to improve with win over Blue Jackets
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