Astoria, NY — As has been discussed in this space and in other pieces on this site ad nauseum, the New York Islanders have been playing fantastic hockey lately. That’s not up for debate. Literally the only teams better than the Isles in the entire NHL over the past 15 games have been the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Not bad company to keep if you’re an Islanders fan.
Now that Isles Nation has had a chance to catch its breath, it’s time to look ahead to the remaining two games on the New York Islanders’ schedule. Road matchups with the downtrodden Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres are how the Isles will close the regular season.
(Emphasis on the word regular.)
Even after clinching their first playoff berth since the 2006-07 season, the Islanders have no incentive to ease up. The 5th-seed in the Eastern Conference is very much up for grabs if the Isles can win their final two games in regulation.
An “extra” four points in the standings would go a long way in putting pressure on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs can reach 59 points, whereas the Islanders can only get to 58 by season’s end.
Regardless, a potential matchup with the free-falling Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs is likely more enticing than having to face the Washington Capitals in the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup.
Just some food for thought, Isles fans. Now, for the rest of Top Shelf…
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
So, THIS happened on Tuesday night…
#Isles clinch a spot! We’re headed to the playoffs!
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) April 24, 2013
(Note the number of re-tweets this one got. Not bad, Isles fans. Not bad.)
Courtesy of our friends at LighthouseHockey, Colin McDonald throws the shoulder…
— Keith (@KeithLHHockey) April 24, 2013
(Repeat after me, kids: “I will always skate with my head UP.”)
Islanders beat writer Art Staple chimes in on the NHL Draft Lottery and what it means to Isles fans THIS year…
NHL announces draft lottery will be held Monday. #Isles fans, for first time in recent memory, respond with collective shrug.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 24, 2013
(Apologies to all the Isles season ticket holders who had to turn in their Draft Party seats. We know you’re probably pretty broken up over it.)
The man, the myth: Matt Martin, with a link to a clip from Boomer & Carton on WFAN…
— Matt Martin (@mattymarts17) April 25, 2013
(The best part is Boomer “talking hockey.” Or at least, trying to.)
Last Night In The NHL
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are making things interesting for their fans – and Islanders fans, by association – at the end of the season. The Leafs lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in an ugly 5-2 game that saw Martin St. Louis record a hat trick in his team’s victory. St. Louis now stands alone atop the NHL scoring leaderboard with 58 points on the year. Toronto can lose its hold on the Eastern Conference’s 5th-seed, although it would likely take two regulation losses in combination with two Islanders regulation wins.
- The Detroit Red Wings – they of the 21-consecutive-playoff-appearances variety – continue to cling to life in this year’s Western Conference playoff race, winning 3-1 over the Los Angeles Kings last night. The game was tied 1-1 in the third period, until goals by Jordin Tootoo (3) and Johan Franzen (13) put it away for the Wings. Detroit currently sits one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot, while their fans are likely stepping off the ledge; for now, the postseason streak appears to be intact.
- The Edmonton Oilers were the latest victim of the Chicago Blackhawks, losing at home by a score of 4-1. The Hawks are 35-6-5 (75 points) on the year, and continue to dominate all comers. Patrick Kane had 1 G and 2 A in the win. Chicago has officially clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record in the league, which may or may not be a good thing – just ask the Vancouver Canucks how that worked out for them last year.
- Mike Smith stopped 33-of-34 shots for the Phoenix Coyotes in their game against the San Jose Sharks, helping his team to a 2-1 victory in Glendale, AZ. The Sharks were playing their second game in as many days, and it showed against the Coyotes. San Jose was coming off an exciting win against the Dallas Stars in which they scored two goals in 30 seconds in the third period; unfortunately for the Sharks, that momentum didn’t carry over into last night’s game. Phoenix played the role of spoiler, preventing San Jose from securing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The incomparable Martin St.Louis for your viewing pleasure…
Pavel, Pavel and more Pavel…
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff. One more thing: the Isles “Drive For Five” starts next week. Prepare yourselves accordingly.