The Islanders concluded February with another winning month and ended it with a bang by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1. Having not had a losing month yet this season, the Islanders kept that up in February. While they suffered two losses to Calgary, overall it was still impressive.
In the 6-1 win against the Maple Leafs, John Tavares played at the Coliseum for the first time since leaving the Islanders last summer. He was not well received, and the fans let him know that all night long. The 6-1 victory was the cherry on top for what was an ideal outcome for the fans.
When it comes to league-leaders, the Islanders still have the NHL’s leader in save percentage and goals against average, Robin Lehner. They also post the lowest goals against average as a team.
What’s hurt the Islanders on some nights is the inability to get any offense going. There were a lot of line changes over the course of the month with Thomas Hickey and Andrew Ladd coming back to action. However, what worked best was going back to original lines by putting the three B’s line of Mat Barzal, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier back together, and putting Leo Komorov and Valtteri Filppula back together on the third line.
The most impressive player this month was Casey Cizikas. He now has 18 goals and 28 points on the season, six of those goals coming from this month alone. This is a career high for him, and he is really flourishing under Barry Trotz as head coach.
Now with a little over a month to go, the Islanders are in a tight race with the Washington Capitals for first. After the loss last night, both teams are tied for first, but the Islanders have one game at hand. Now the goal is to maintain first place so that they can receive home advantage for as long as possible throughout the Playoffs.