Somehow the New York Islanders have found a way to beat the Penguins and Bruins in back to back series to advance to the 3rd round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Islanders were the last seed (#4) to make it out of the Eastern Division and have made a nice little run so far in the postseason. In both series against the Bruins and Penguins, the Islanders found themselves down 2-1 and went on to win the next 3 games to win both in 6 games. It’s amazing what they’ve accomplished after being pretty much shrugged off by many analysts as first round exits. The Islanders are averaging a whopping 3.58 goals per game after averaging just 2.71 goals per game in the regular season. A crazy stat is that the Isles have given up 452 shots on goals while only having 359 shots on goal as a team. This is a 93 shot on goal differential and averages out to about 7.75 shots on goal a game. It’s truly unbelievable that they continue to win despite being outplayed for long stretches throughout a series. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau leads them with 13 points in the postseason through 12 games with 3 goals and 10 assists. Trade Deadline pickup Kyle Palmieri leads the Isles in goals in the postseason with 7 through 12 games. The real difference maker has been the Isles goaltending. Both Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov have had a spectacular postseason to this point. Sorokin led the Isles in the first round and Varlamov stepped up for the Bruins series. Both have 4 wins and save percentages over .925. Having two elite goaltenders to rely on is always something that can give a team confidence when they’re making a deep postseason run. The next series vs the Lightning will be by far their toughest test. The Lightning have made things look pretty easy even without home ice advantage throughout the first 2 rounds. The Lightning beat the Panthers in 6 games and the Hurricanes in 5 games without any problems really. Getting Nikita Kucherov back for the playoffs has proved to be huge for Tampa Bay. He has 18 points through 11 games including 5 goals and 13 assists. The largest piece to Tampa’s success has been their goaltending as well. Andrei Vasilevskiy has started in every game for the Lightning and has put together a .934 save percentage in 11 games with a 2.24 goals against average. Vasilevskiy also has 2 shutouts this postseason. It will be a great series between the Isles and Lightning. With as great as the goaltending has been on the Islanders, it will be interesting to see who they go with against Tampa.