New York Islanders: Five Things They Need to Fix Next Season
Better Conference Record
The Islander’s record last season was an impressive 45-27-10. With 19 of those wins coming from the 28 games they played against Western Conference opposition. Another 18 wins coming from 30 games against Metropolitan Division rivals. And just eight from the other 24 games against teams in the Atlantic Division.
If there’s a potential for improvement it’s that 33% win percentage against Atlantic Division teams. Winning more divisional games would be great, but that 60% win rate is good enough to get them through the division. And that 68% win ratio against Western teams realistically can’t get much better.
Specifically, the Isles need to improve against two teams; the Montréal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Against both teams, last season the Isles went a combined 0-6-0. Not getting a single point from a possible 12. Just one win would have catapulted the Isles out of the wildcard and into that third playoff spot in the Metro.
We can argue if that would have been disadvantageous or not, but leapfrogging the Rangers in the standings is worth it.
Last season, we played the Habs right in the think of their league dominating form. Maybe if we met Montréal in December, when they started their decline into the worst team in the league, things may have been different.
The Habs will have Carey Price back this season, barring a re-aggravation of his injury in the World Cup. Getting points against the Habs is possible, but difficult when Price is in form. Boston on the other hand, hasn’t changed too much. They lost Loui Eriksson and gained David Backes. Arguably a wash in terms of quality, and even a down grade, depending on who you ask.
Keeping a similar record and picking points up against Atlantic division teams would help the Isles avoid the pitfalls and perils of the wildcard.