Islanders ‘find a way’ in Vancouver
Hickey’s Late Goal, Greiss’ Lift New York over Vancouver
“Survive and Advance” is a motto normally reserved for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
But for the New York Islanders, who hold the coveted third spot in the Metropolitan Division standings, the saying certainly applied following Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in front of 18,264 fans at Rogers Arena.
The Islanders (34-20-7, 75 points) managed only two shots in the opening period, though one of them found the back of the net off the stick of defenseman Travis Hamonic, and got outshot 13-9 in the second stanza despite managing to take a 2-1 lead on Anders Lee’s 10th tally of the campaign.
With the game on the line in the third period, New York answered Vancouver star Daniel Sedin’s game-tying goal with an unassisted score by Thomas Hickey with just over seven minutes to play.
Thomas Greiss made sure the go-ahead goal held up, finishing with 31 saves to backstop New York to its fourth victory in five games on its season-high seven-game road trip.
The win allowed the Islanders to jump three points ahead of Pittsburgh for the third spot in the division with one game in hand, remaining just above the fray of the tenuous-at-best wild-card position the Penguins currently cling to.
“It wasn’t a good hockey game for us, but the positive thing is that we [won] it,” Hickey ceded after netting his fourth goal of the season for the game-winner and adding an assist on Lee’s second-period tally.
“To a man, I think we all understand that [this type of performance] isn’t going to win too many hockey games. Our goalie sort of bailed us out there and we got lucky.”
Greiss, who improved to 17-6-3 on the season with a 2.18 goals-against average, made 25 saves over the final 40 minutes to preserve New York’s bounce-back win from a tough 3-1 loss in Edmonton on Sunday night.
“[Greiss] was excellent, he was our best player tonight,” Hickey said. “I don’t know how many of those goalmouth scrambles we had and he just makes himself really big. He spreads out and takes away those stuffs. We owe this one to him.”
The Islanders will be in Winnipeg Thursday night before wrapping up their epic sojourn Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden against the second-place Rangers, who hold a five-point advantage over their East River rivals.
“It was a little gritty, but at this point in the year when both teams need [to win] it’s going to get like that,” Lee said of the narrow win over the Canucks.
“We found a way in the second half of the game. Two points is two points,” added Isles head coach Jack Capuano, echoing the sentiments of virtually anyone in the league trying to secure a playoff spot at this point in the campaign.
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