In their first five games under Patrick Roy, the Islanders looked, understandably, like a team in transition — taking to a new system well, but hitting stumbling blocks along the way.
In the sixth, they looked like a team that had wholly embraced what the new head coach has preached.
And they got the result to show it, beating the Lightning 6-2 in an offensive explosion for their second-straight win following the All-Star break, with the crowd chanting Roy’s name as time ticked down in the third period.
On a night where everything went right for the Isles, even injury luck was in their favor, with Casey Cizikas back in the lineup and Brock Nelson returning for the third period after spending part of the second in the dressing room following a hit from Emil Martinsen Lilleberg.
Just as important, they played perhaps their best all-around game of the season.
The Islanders swarmed the puck.
They played up the ice.
They lived in the offensive zone. They dominated for shifts at a time.
They forechecked aggressively and effectively, making life hell when the Lightning tried to get through the neutral zone.
This, against a team the Isles are chasing in the playoff race, that has long been one of the league’s measuring sticks.
The Islanders, by the way, had won just seven games by two or more goals prior to this one. But Roy is not a coach who prefers to stay conservative.