Everything about Friday night's game against the Red Wings felt like a microcosm of the entire season.
Watching the first two-and-a-half periods of the game, it truly felt like one could fill out an Islanders bingo card - defensive turnovers, plenty of failures clearing the zone, an early deficit, subpar goaltending from Thomas Greiss and an angry #IslesTwitter calling for someone's head.
Even when it looked like there was a comeback in the works early in the third period, Darren Helm and Anthony Mantha dashed all hopes with two goals in quick succession.
Greiss was dispatched after another tough night and Jaroslav Halak's mop-up role felt too little, too late. This game was over, and with precious points on the line to remain in the Wild Card hunt, this winnable game against a struggling Detroit team (that came into the contest at 28th in the league in scoring, by the way) slipped away.
But then, the Islanders got some luck that I'm sure very few - if anyone - saw coming. At 13:27, Tyler Bertuzzi two-hand slashed Cal Clutterbuck's knee near the benches. Call it an Oscar-worthy performance (or a Razzie) from Clutterbuck, but either way you slice it, the Islanders got a gift with five minutes of power-play time.
Seemingly right as Butch Goring called for Doug Weight to start thinking about pulling Halak for an extra skater, the magic started to happen.
First it was a deflection from Brock Nelson. Then it was Anders Lee doing Anders Lee things by finishing a rebound in the dirty area. With 4:32 to go and ample time left on the power play, this actually felt like something could happen.
And then in the blink of an eye, Nick Leddy tied it and Josh Bailey had given the Islanders a 6-5 lead off a beautiful feed from John Tavares. The camera kept panning to an excited Jon Ledecky, who perfectly encapsulated everyone witnessing this improbable comeback at Barclays Center and on TV. This didn't seem real. Was this even possible?
But whatever "pinch me, I'm dreaming" feelings anyone was experiencing suddenly fell by the wayside when Mike Green spoiled the party with 29 seconds left in the third. It's not an official stat on Hockey Reference, but I'm almost certain the Islanders lead the league in allowing the most backbreaking, demoralizing goals. Add this one to list.
With the game in overtime and the referees missing what looked like a very clear too many men on the ice penalty, it felt like all the good fortunes had vanished. But enter Mathew Barzal.
The likely Calder Trophy finalist pickpocketed Gustav Nyquist in the defensive end, sped down the right wing and flung on a saucer pass across to the left before Nelson banged the puck past a stunned Petr Mrazek. Barzal had five points, Nelson a hat trick and the Islanders had nothing short of a miracle win. Bonkers doesn't begin to describe this one.
The victory doesn't take away from the fact that the Islanders still have plenty of issues. The defense is still porous, the goaltending (read: Greiss) has been lackluster and the aforementioned late-period goals still plague this team. There are plenty of clear problems that this team has as currently constructed, and GM Garth Snow needs to address these before you can even think about talking about postseason chances.
This offense is great, but it can't do it alone. The injury bug is obviously a big part of what's been wrong, but there are moves that can be made to at least plug the holes for the time being.
But that doesn't take away the wackiness and improbability of what happened Friday night. Let it soak in for a little bit. Because Friday night was one of the best regular-season games this franchise has ever played in.