It was not the most important win of the 2014-15 season, but it certainly rubber stamped the Islanders as a true force in the NHL.
"[The Predators] are obviously the best team so far this season," Johnny Boychuk, who recored a goal and an assist in the win, told reporters. "They're a good team and for us to come away with a win against them it shows what kind of team we have. We worked for everything we got and we capitalized on our opportunities."
It was an impressive effort for the Islanders, who outshot their opponent 40-32 and outhit the Predators 35-30. The Islanders kept pace with a team that has beaten some of the NHL's other top contenders and didn't allow the lead to slip away when the Predators were putting on the pressure.
Nashville managed to cut the Islanders lead to 3-2 late in the second period, but goals by Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey 1:39 apart from one another helped seal the win for New York.
"We didn't panic," Jaroslav Halak said about his teammates response to the Predators cutting their three-goal lead to one. "We just stayed calm. I'm sure we just wanted to finish the second period with the same score and in the third I think we just played really good hockey. I think they only got one or two shots up until maybe a minute left in the game. I think we managed the period really well, we played good hockey in the third and we just need to play like this in upcoming games."
Halak, who finished the game with 28 saves, recorded his 32nd win of the season. That ties him for a franchise record for most wins in a season shared by Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro.
The Islanders opened up the scoring one minute into the game after Brian Strait fired a shot past Pekka Rinne. Johnny Boychuk found the back of the net midway in the period to make it 2-0 Islanders and John Tavares scored with 1:39 left in the first to give the home team the three goal advantage.
Filip Forsberg scored in the waining seconds of the first period for the Predators and James Neal cut the lead to one goal late in the second.
"They have a good team and we know that," Islanders' head coach Jack Capuano said. "We just have to focus on a daily basis like I say and prepare for the team we need to prepare for... I thought our discipline and our decision making were good, and I thought the third period for sure we did a real good job of limiting their chances.
"I think the second period the pace picked up for them and we weathered the storm. We got some big saves from Jaro when we need them. Like I said I thought we did a good job."
The Islanders are back in action on Saturday, when they travel to Washington to take on the Capitals.