Well, the Islanders ended their 15 game losing streak to the Philadelphia Flyers last night with their 6 to 4 win. Although the Flyers made it interesting with a couple of late goals, the score does not reflect the fact that the Isles played a very solid, dominant game overall. In fact, I must personally confess that I’m impressed, as I half-expected it to be a Lot tougher with the Flyers fighting to stay in the playoff picture. I thought the Broad Street Bullies would come out with a lot more fire and push around the smaller Islanders. This, though, was not the case as even the hits in the game were mainly delivered effectively by the blue and orange.
Blake Comeau, who has really turned it on of late and has been one of the biggest in best surprises next to Matt Moulson, had a pair of goals to lead the way. John Sim had a goal and 2 helpers, while Bergenheim, Nielsen and Hunter each also scored. Marty Byron played extremely well in net, and again, the 4 goals against is a little deceiving in regard to his performance. The Isles had four goal leads a few times in the game and were winning 6-2 before the Flyers closed the gap to get within 2.
Now, with the Atlanta Thrashers losing a chance to pick up 2 points and the Boston Bruins being shut out by the Florida Panthers 1-0, there is now a really tight race for the 6, 7 and 8 spots in the Easter Conference. As it stands, the Flyers, Canadians and Bruins each have 82 points, while the Thrashers have 80 and the Rangers have 78. This makes the Rangers match up tonight against the Lightning very important for their efforts, while the Flyers and Canadians square off in an even bigger tilt. In the West, the Flames and Avalanche meet for a big game as well with Colorado pretty much fighting now to hold the 8 spot and the Flames trying to grab it from them.
So, as much as the Islanders are out of the race, the playoff picture is still quite exciting and interesting overall in the NHL. It really might come down to the last game of the season for more than a few squads. The Islanders also have a game against Montreal next week that will undoubtedly have significance for the Canadians. Stay tuned, folks, as this is far from over.