Andrew MacDonald was the lone man to score in this one. The Islander defenseman unleashed one from the blue line and hit the back of the net, just over goalie Michal Neuvirth‘s shoulder.
This was an important win for the Islanders. This team has made a habit out of playing well and finding ways to lose, but in this one, despite not playing their best hockey, they found a way to win.
The Islanders may be too far out of it to comeback and make a playoff run this year, but they have to start showing signs of life for the years to come. Most superstars don’t want to play for the Islanders because they don’t offer the same opportunity to win as other franchises. The Thomas Vanek situation is a prime example of this.
Vanek came over to the Islanders last October in exchange for Matt Moulson, and the Islanders hoped he would stay on past this year and his expiring contract. Despite the success he has enjoyed playing beside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, Vanek seems intent on becoming a free agent, making him just the latest superstar to decline playing on Long Island.
The Islanders have a reputation for having a losing culture around their team. They will need to start developing a new culture and playing games like they did on Tuesday night in order to start reeling in those free agents. Tuesday night wasn’t pretty, but they won, and looking ugly in victory is a lot better than looking good in defeat.