Islanders zoom past jets to capture the long-awaited winning streak

For the first time in more than four months, the Islanders are on a regular winning streak — and each time came the second win against the Jets.

After knocking out the Blue Jackets on Thursday, the Islanders defeated the Jets 5-2 at the UBS Arena on Friday night, behind two goals from Josh Bailey and 27 saves from Semyon Varlamov.

It had been 125 days, from November 6 to March 11 – a span of time that felt like an eternity to this organization – since the islanders had won regulation twice in a row. In between, they endured a devastating COVID-19 outbreak, an 11-game losing streak, and a season that saw the tones shift from triumphant to fighting the current to countdown to nothing.

In that sense, Friday’s win – and every other win from now until the end of this mostly joyless ride on April 29 – was Pyrrhic. In the truest sense of the word, however, the islanders can draw some luck from the long-awaited winning streak. At 23-24-8 they may play for pride, but pride is not worthless.

Anders Lee (27) is hugged by Anthony Beauvillier (18) and Brock Nelson (29) after scoring in the second period.

Nor is it the fact that the Islanders have outscored their opponents 11-2 in their last two games and may have started to look a bit like the team they want to be.

After Friday, Brock Nelson has scored in four consecutive goals. Anders Lee has a three-game scoring streak and has lit the lamp six times in that span. Noah Dobson has six assists in five games and is pushing the power play, with a second nod to Nelson’s first-half goal on Friday. Even Bailey has three goals in two games. Mathew Barzal and Zdeno Chara are also back in the squad.

Even as the Islanders played most of the second third in their own zone on Friday, they only allowed nine shots on goal in those 20 minutes. And thanks to goals from Lee and Bailey, 40 seconds apart within the first two minutes of the period – both clearing rebounds in the goal area – they went into the second break with a commanding 3-1 lead.

Josh Bailey scores in the second period.
Josh Bailey scores in the second period.
USA TODAY sports

The Jets didn’t go down without a fight. Blake Wheeler made it a 3-2 game just 20 seconds into the third period and put a rebound into the Islanders’ net. But Bailey’s second goal, backhanded by Adam Pelech’s rebound at 7:14, gave the Islanders a comfort zone. Cal Clutterbuck’s empty neter with 4:44 left in the game sealed the win.

Nelson scored his team-leading 23rd goal with a one-timer from the right circle at 6:23 of the first, with Anthony Beauvillier providing the cross-ice assist.

Although the Islanders generally played strong games in the first 20 minutes, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech were caught too high on the ice for Kyle Connor to easily put away in a sequence that led to a 2-for-0 from Winnipeg , to even the score at 16:58 of the first.

Adam Pelech defends the islanders' web.
Adam Pelech defends the islanders’ web.
Getty Images

If Thursday and Friday mark some sort of return to form, it’s certainly too late to make a difference in how the season ends or how it’s remembered. However, that doesn’t stop the islanders from being happy with it.

Under no circumstances could the Islanders have lasted this season until mid-March before claiming back-to-back regular wins at the UBS Arena. This is reflected in falling visitor numbers and falling ticket prices.

But when Maxine Nightingale followed the horn and the islanders saluted their fans, there was nothing left but to salute the victory they were able to claim. Islanders zoom past jets to capture the long-awaited winning streak


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