Leslie Monteiro does a great job talking about Thomas Greiss and his impact on the Islanders.
Alan Quine was the hero of last night’s game 5 for scoring the game-winning goal for the Islanders.
Make no mistake, though. The Islanders do not win this game without Thomas Greiss’ excellent play in net.
Greiss had 47 saves in the Islanders’ 2-1 double overtime victory over the Panthers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last night at the BB&T Center. This puts the Islanders in a position to win the series Sunday night at the Barclays Center by taking a 3-2 series lead.
The Islanders needed this from their goaltender. No one can question their effort and performance last night, but they were getting exhausted late in third period and in the overtimes.
This is where a goaltender has to steal the game for his team. This is where a goaltender has to set the tone and put his team in a position to win. This is where a goaltender gives his team a boost when his teammates were tired.
It’s something Henrik Lundqvist should have done in the Rangers’ disgraceful 5-0 Game 4 loss to the Penguins in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Greiss was up for the challenge. He knew he had to step up. This was his moment to shine, and did he ever.
The Panthers were shooting the puck at Greiss’ end in the third period as the Islanders were holding on to a 1-0 lead. He was able to make most of those saves. Sometimes, his defense did not help him out in clearing the puck. It’s a credit to him that he was able to be active and alert when it came to holding on to the puck.
The Panthers could have been up 3-1 in the third period. They were dominating that period.
Aleksander Barkov tied the game at 1 in the third period on an Alex Petrovic’s pass from Jaromir Jagr, who picked up the puck after Jonathan Huberdeau got knocked down.
The Islanders goaltender could have imploded there. Instead, he rose up. He kept it going as the Panthers continued to throw the puck at his direction. He survived the onslaught as the third period ended.
Greiss’ best moment came in overtime.
After Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan put his hand on the puck in the crease, Barkov was rewarded a penalty shot.
Barkov made the slow move to get to the net and started to shoot the puck at Greiss’ left.
Greiss made the save with no problem. It was so easy for him.
This illustrates his great temperament. He does not let the moment get to him. He is equipped to handle a moment like the penalty shot. He treated that as it was nothing.
That was the save of the lifetime. His best moment of his career.
He also stopped a three-on-one to make a save in the third period.
He was just not going to be denied on that night when he stopped the penalty shot and three-on-one.
That was the type of performance the Islanders needed from him. They needed him to leave the way with the idea he had no margin for error, and he got it done.
Fortunately for Greiss, Quine ended on a slapshot to Roberto Luongo that ended the game.
Who knows if Greiss had anything left? The Islanders were running on fumes, and they somehow got by in overtime. He could have only done so much.
Overall, the Islanders goaltender has done a good job of stepping in for Jaroslav Halak in the playoffs. He has made plays. He has kept the Islanders in the games. He has been steady.
What the Islanders needed was him to steal at least one game, and he did that.
It’s not a surprise he is doing well. He had a .925 save percentage this season, and he was 23-11-4 in 41 appearances. He knew he was ready for this moment.
He always had the confidence to do well. He needed the playoffs to show how good he really is.
So far so good.
A game like last night should validate the Islanders’ confidence in Greiss.
The Islanders didn’t need last night to know he can get it done. They believed in him, and he has given them a reason why with his play.
Game 5 speaks for itself.
photo by Drew King