As much as it kills me to write this blog, it needs to be done. The Islanders have been the silent assassins. Their last loss came to the Carolina Hurricanes on October 11th. Since then they have won 10 straight, including strong wins against the Blues, Sabres, and Lightning. You can argue that their schedule hasn’t been anything special, but wins are wins and to win 10 straight in the NHL is something to be proud of. It’s a hell of a feat.
During this impressive streak, the Islanders can thank a nice balance within their 4 lines. The Islanders star players are playing like star players. Barzal has been unreal, tallying 6 goals and 5 assists. Not to mention he is a +10. New York’s defenseman are also something to write home about. Their offensive contribution has been a huge factor in this winning streak. I do believe they are top 3 in the NHL in defensive production. Align that balanced contribution with solid goaltending, and you got yourself a recipe for success. Greiss and Varlamov have been equally solid. The tandem have combined for 11 wins this season. Greiss with 6 (GAA 2.00) and Varlamov with 5 (GA 2.14). You have to be pumped if you’re an Islander fan. Every aspect of your team is having success. I guess this is the Trotz way. Can’t say enough good things about Barry. He is obviously one of the top coaches in the league and he is certainly getting the very best out of his Islanders.
So after 10 wins in a row, the Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens have been classic Penguins this year. They always seem to start off a little slow and then they shoot right up the standings at the end of the year. The Islanders and Penguins have a little rivalry going as of recent, so this will be a tough battle. My gut tells me that Islanders lose a close 3-2 game. Maybe even in overtime. I won’t be betting this game, because if there is one thing I have learned, it’s stay out of the way of a bog winning or losing streak.