Some quotes from around the Islanders' locker room in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday night after they clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.
John Tavares: “We had to win a lot more games late because we put ourselves behind the eight-ball with the start to the season we had. We knew we needed to start winning some games that we’d been losing the first half of the season, and we needed to be better at home to get to where we wanted to be. We did both those things and you see what the result was.
“We got contributions from everyone as well, and that was just huge. When that success comes, the belief comes with it -- we knew what we had to do and how we had to play to be successful and once we did that, we knew it worked.”
Josh Bailey: “This has been fun. Winning is fun. You get that winning feeling, you start believing in yourself and in each other and anything’s possible. You can see the steps we’ve taken as a team and this is an exciting time.”
Matt Martin: “It’s a good accomplishment for us. We didn’t play the game we wanted to play, but we got a point and then we come in here to find out we’ve made it. We’re going to enjoy it tonight, but we all know we have to be ready to work tomorrow. Now’s the time to step on the gas pedal harder rather than pull back. We want to go into the playoffs playing our best.”
Matt Moulson: “It’s a pretty great feeling, 29 years old, going to play my first NHL playoff game. It’s a lot to think about. But we’ve earned it. We didn’t play our best tonight and we got a little lucky at times, but we’ve built up that confidence that we feel like we’re never out of it. That’s part of the reason we are where we are.”
Evgeni Nabokov: “It’s huge for us. I don’t think we’re going to hide our excitement tonight, you can hear the guys already (team had just found out). Now we want to move up the standings the last two games, get the highest seed we can. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
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