The Islanders get a much-needed two points, Henrik Lundqvist is in fine form and the Senators continue to struggle. Here’s what we learned in the NHL on Wednesday night.
Islanders get a win when they need it most
The New York Islanders went into Wednesday’s game against the Senators in serious need of a win.
After opening the month of March with four straight wins, the Brooklyn team has found itself in a bit of a free fall, winning just one out of seven games and losing a season-high four in a row.
They stopped the bleeding with a 3-1 win over the Senators. Those two points give them a little bit of breathing room in the wild card race (the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings are hot on their tails with 83 points a piece) and get them within one point of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who sit in third in the Metropolitan with 88.
Not only did the win snap that four-game skid, it also broke their home losing streak against the Senators.
(The Senators were 5-0-2 in their previous seven games when visiting the Islanders, outscoring them 26-11 during that time.)
John Tavares, who is on pace for his lowest points-per-game average since his rookie campaign, came through for his team to start the scoring and continue his hot streak at home.
Now the question is... will the Islanders make the post-season?
Senators looking for solution?
We said it yesterday, and we'll say it again today: It's not a great time to be a member of the Ottawa Senators.
One night after suffering a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on the day owner Eugene Melnyk sent ripples through the organization with promise of big change, the Senators were once again on the losing side of the scoreboard — this time, against the Islanders.
Lucky for Ottawa, forward Mark Stone came through with a rooftop beauty in the third period to get his squad on the board and avoid being shut out. Wednesday night's goal was his 23rd of the 2015-16 campaign, and boosted his points total to an even 60 on the season.
That goal was also extra sweet, considering the Islanders' rookie goalie, Jean-Francois Berube, had robbed Stone earlier in the game.
In the end, the Senators lost the game 3-1, which only exacerbated their current problems. So, what's the solution? The team certainly has plenty to be positive about on the roster — especially on defence with Erik Karlsson, who's once again carving out a Norris Trophy-worthy season.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, who addresses Melnyk's strong statement in his latest 30 Thoughts, voiced his opinion on what change Melnyk should target in Wednesday's edition of To The Point, suggesting a more defensive mentality. (Watch that video, above.)
Friedman also spoke highly of young blue-liner Cody Ceci, and why he's a bright spot on the roster.
Lundqvist's play is back on point
While the New York Rangers have been continuing their strong season, Henrik Lundqvist hit a bit of a road block. The King has been pulled a career-high six times this season, including Saturday's loss to the San Jose Sharks. (To give you a little context, Lundqvist had been pulled six times in the previous three seasons combined.)
Though he backstopped the Rangers to a win Monday night against the Florida Panthers, Lundqvist really looked like his normal, solid self Wednesday against the Bruins with a 39-save performance.
And this goal-line save on Lee Stempniak? Wow.
You know what else was on point in the Rangers' 5-2 victory? Their power-play. Derek Stepan and New York's PP unit got them up 2-0 in the first period. Never underestimate the power of special teams.
The Rangers now have 92 points and remain solidly in second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Bruins, on the other hand, have now lost four straight on the road and are just barely holding on to their third-place position in the Atlantic.
The Bruins return home Thursday as they host the Florida Panthers. Buckle up, Boston.