The New York Islanders were on point offensively and defensively Tuesday night, in a dominating 6-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche at Nassau Coliseum.
Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves to become the first Islander goalie to record consecutive shutouts since 2006. The stingy Islanders have only allowed three goals on their current four-game win streak and Tuesday marked the second straight game the defense allowed 20-or-fewer shots.
“It’s a team effort,” Halak said. “They kept the shots low again tonight, the same as last game. They blocked a lot of shots again. It’s always easier when you have these types of games, when everybody was playing well, everybody was tracking back”
Nikolay Kulemin and Ryan Strome led the Islanders with two points each, but the offensive outburst went far beyond the pair. Twelve different players hit the scoresheet, as the Islanders won their fourth game in a row.
“We knew coming in here tonight that we had to get pucks and bodies to the net,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “I liked the job that we did tonight.”
The Islanders grabbed the lead out of the gate, as Nick Leddy opened the scoring at 1:33. Johnny Boychuk’s point shot hit the end boards and bounced into the high slot before Leddy beat Semyon Varlamov with a wrister. The goal was Leddy’s fourth of the season and 100th career NHL point.
“Johnny made a great play,” Leddy said. “Their guy was in the way, so he shot it off the end boards. It took some crazy bounces, but it found me.”
Anders Lee put the Islanders ahead 2-0 four minutes later, taking advantage of a friendly Coliseum bounce. Leddy’s dump in around the glass kicked off a stanchion and Varlamov’s clearing attempt landed right on Lee’s tape. The Islanders winger made no mistake, burying his second of the season.
The Islanders added to their lead in the second period. Kulemin set up a screen in front and Travis Hamonic powered a point shot through traffic to open up a three-goal lead at 6:38. After working his body in front of the net, Kulemin worked his hands, dangling Varlamov on a short-handed breakaway. Kulemin teased to the forehand before lifting a backhander over Varlamov’s glove 11:32.
“We’re a humble team, we’ve had some success, but we have to be able to sustain that,” Capuano said. “It’s about habits and we’ve created those habits, but we have to maintain those habits.”
The Islanders penalty kill was a perfect three-for-three, marking the third straight game they did not allow a goal.
The Islanders have two days off before putting their recent streaks on the line in Florida. The team plays a back-to-back set against the Panthers on Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Play resumes in Sunrise, FL, on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.