Islanders beat Canadiens to score playoff spot
The New York Islanders have been bringing their all into the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs after beating the Montreal Canadiens to clinch the playoff spot on April 12.
During the playoff-spot game, Brock Nelson scored twice to help the Islanders beat Canadiens 4-2. Hudson Fasching and Anders Lee also scored for New York, and Ilya Sorokin made 16 saves to close out the regular season.
All told, the team managed a 19-9-4 run from Jan. 27 onwards, and didn’t secure their playoff spot until the final game of the regular season.
As of press time, the Islanders are more than through their first round of playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes, with an outcome expected this week. The Islanders lost their first two playoff games to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, then clinched their first 2023 playoff win against the North Caroline team during the Islanders’ first home game of the round.
Game 3 last Friday looked like a comeback, with Islanders taking home the win with a final score of 5-1.
During their third period, the team also managed to score the fastest burst of four goals in playoff history, according to ESPN, who called their streak in the sixteenth-to-eighteenth minutes of Period 3 a “record-setting outburst.”
During Sunday night’s game, however, the tables seemed to turn again at UBS Arena as the Hurricanes beat out the Islanders 5-2 on Sunday. As a result, the Hurricanes now lead the Islanders 3-1 in won playoff games for the first round.
Their next matchup happens Tuesday, April 25 (after our papers go to press, and before they hit most mailboxes), so, like all the other hockey fans in Nassau County, we’ve been on the edge of our seats to find out whether the Islanders will keep clawing their way back in this first playoff round or head home to watch the rest of the Stanley Cup showdown.
The Islanders are in the postseason for the fourth time in the past five seasons, advancing to the third round of the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021 and the second round in 2019. The team missed the mark in 2022 to participate in the playoffs, but they’re not slowing down.
“I can’t tell you how hard last year was just not playing in those big games and those big moments,” said center Mathew Barzal in a statement. “We want to be in the spotlight and that’s what the playoffs is. We’re excited.”
“Coming into this year, there was a strong focus on having that goal of finding a way in,” said defenseman Ryan Pulock. “It doesn’t matter if you’re first or 16th you get a chance to fight for the Stanley Cup and I think it’s starting to set in here as we get closer by the day of just the excitement and the energy that you have in practice.”