Tomorrow night, the New York Islanders hit the road to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in what should be an interesting game. The Islanders certainly have something to prove and to stay in the mix, the team needs to stay aggressive and continue to at least collect points in consecutive games.
After the Ottawa Senator’s shelling of the Detroit Red Wings last night in Daniel Alfredson’s first game against his former team, which ended 6-1, the Islanders (9pts 3-3-3) are sitting just one point behind Ottawa (10pts 4-3-2) in 9th place.
Like many other writers, I think the Islanders 3-3-3 mark is an all too perfect a way to describe their season thus far, middle of the road with glimpses of hope.
As for the rest of the teams in the vicinity, I suspect the playoff race will look similar, though the Ottawa Senators certainly have some potential to move up as well as the streaky Washington Capitals. Still, other than the Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, no one in the East is creating any breathing space for themselves in the standings, something the Islanders need to take advantage of, and quick.
To ensure a second consecutive playoff berth, the team needs to create some distance between teams who have struggled through the first 10 games. Even collecting 3 of 4 points in the team’s next two games can make teams like the Senators and Montreal Canadiens look over their shoulders and put the Columbus Blue Jackets and Capitals on notice.
The Islanders have an opportunity this weekend to grab some of those points back that were lost in their three OT and shootout loses and start a point streak to break away from the bottom eight teams.
-JZ (Twitter: @jonzella)