Almost immediately after a fan in a bright-orange Donald Trump mask was shown on the scoreboard to a mixed reception at Barclays Center, the Islanders snapped out of a lengthy offensive slump with three goals in the second period Wednesday night against Ottawa.
So yes, Trump somehow is still defeating various Senators throughout the U.S.
The Isles’ three-goal outburst snapped a scoreless tie and lifted them to an important slump-busting victory, finally aiding their playoff standing with a 3-1 decision over Ottawa in Brooklyn.
“You have to start with one, and now we move on to Tampa Bay (on Friday),” captain John Tavares said in a postgame locker room that featured rapper Ja Rule. Tavares, Matt Martin and Brock Nelson scored in the middle period for the Isles, who had netted 11 goals and won just once in their previous seven games (1-4-2) to endanger their postseason positioning.
Third-string goalie J-F Berube was spectacular early and finished with 22 saves as the Isles (39-24-9) moved four points ahead of the Flyers — who swiped a 4-1 victory here on Monday — and No. 9 Detroit in the Eastern Conference. As recently as two weeks ago, the Isles appeared headed for either a second- or third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and an opening-round playoff matchup against the Rangers.
John Tavares celebrates after scoring in the second period against the Senators.
But four points over the previous seven contests — including a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) coming in — dropped them behind the Rangers and Pittsburgh and into the second wild-card position.
The Isles managed only five shots in the opening period despite two early power plays, but Tavares buried a rebound for his first goal in six games 5:24 into the second for the Isles’ first lead in more than 270 minutes of action.
Martin and Nelson boosted the lead to three with close-range goals 31 seconds apart by 14:49. Mark Stone ended Berube’s shutout bid 6:21 into the third.
“Getting a win is like a little weight off our shoulders,” Martin said.