John Tavares may have notched the game-winner in overtime, but the Islanders wouldn't have made it that far if it wasn't for stellar goaltending from Thomas Greiss Monday night.
The Islanders held the lead all game long, but if there wasn't a scoreboard, one would think the Canadiens were dominating with the amount of time the puck came Greiss' way. New York was largely outshot, 56-24, but Greiss totaled 52 saves to allow his team to steal a win on the road in Montreal.
"We don't get anywhere close to a win without him," Adam Pelech told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "For sure we wanted to win this one for what he did the whole game."
It was Greiss' first start of the new year, and he is hoping it is better to him than 2017 was. He came into the game with a .882 save percentage and 3.89 goals-against average -- two stats that are the worst for any goalie making at least 10 starts this season.
So what does Greiss attribute to his success last night? His trip to "The Most Magical Place on Earth" over the bye week.
"Disney World," Greiss said. "You stop thinking about hockey for a while, get yourself away for a bit."
Head coach Doug Weight has been looking for better play from Greiss, and he is hoping this victory will instill confidence in his goaltender.
"You hope these are the kinds of games and wins he can build off," he said. "He's had some struggles, but this is a game that can build your confidence."
The Islanders may have been outshot, but they made the best of their chances thanks to jaw-dropping plays from Mathew Barzal, who continues to make his case for the Calder Trophy. He set up recent call-up Anthony Beauvillier for the first goal of the game, while launching a wrist shot to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead early.
However, the Canadiens took advantage of the Isles being down yet another man after Scott Mayfield took a puck to the throat. Pelech, who scored his first goal of the season Monday night, knew his defensive unit was in for a challenge with just five men. But they overcame adversity.
"It's tough to go down to five D, especially when they're already pushing the way they were," Pelech said.
The Islanders will look to continue their three-game win streak when they take on the Devils at Barclays Center on Tuesday.