While earning three of four possible points isn't a bad thing, the Islanders to a man should feel angry about leaving a point on the table at home on Saturday night. Upon second glance, the team that trailed 2-0 on the road entering the third period, is now a division rival, who just stole two points.
The newly formed Metropolitan Division could be the toughest in the NHL, so points, especially against divisional opponents, will be at a premium. The ones left standing 1-3 and holding playoff spots are the ones who can successfully close out multi-goal third period leads. Saying that, it's not like the Islanders gave the game away the other night. Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and turned away plenty of chances that would have ended in a regulation loss for Columbus with a human goaltender. However, this is what the Islanders must now understand. The days of moral victories for this group of talented youngsters is over. The pats on the back for testing the Penguins in the first round won't get them any points this season.
After one of their early season home losses last season, the TV camera stayed on John Tavares while he sat in the bench and he looked angry. It was that attitude that eventually turned the Islanders into a team that held a lead or where tied in the third period in 42 of their 48 regular season games. Now captain, Tavares needs to take the next step in leading this team to being one with hope and promise, to one with claws and nails. The Islanders proved last season that they can compete and beat any team in this league. Their ability to learn how to consistently close out those games, especially at home, will be the difference between a playoff spot and a lottery spot.