For the New York Islanders success, this season will come down to an arithmetic equation. Sometimes math is your friend. Not this time.
The Islanders’ numerical situation has already become clear less than fifteen games into the season. This franchise has had winning streaks go longer than this season, how can the wolf already be at the door?
Here’s the simple version of the mountain to climb. It’s likely that four team’s from the Metro division will make the playoffs. From day one we all conceded that the defending Stanley Cup champs are one, and the defending Presidents Cup champs are another. Both teams are living up to that potential.
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But the New York Rangers, the arch rival we thought was taking the next step down a long painful decline, is currently the best team in the league. By the way they are playing, and the way they have accumulated points, it already seems highly unlikely the Islanders can catch them. Other teams might. But that would only make it worse.
With three playoff spots seemingly out of range, that leaves five teams battling for the last playoff position. If the Rangers slump and are caught by one of those teams, but not the Isles, boom — four spots gone; season over.
If not, The Islanders still have to beat every single one of these other teams, and they trail all but one. There isn’t a powerhouse there, no single team they couldn’t eclipse. But it’s hard to think every single one will slip in the standing, especially when they mostly play each other in the final quarter of the season.
Are They Better Than…
Carolina is still behind the Islanders at the moment. The hope is that their atrocious goaltending remains that bad.
Columbus has had the non-total-collapse start to a season they’ve dreamed of for four years. If they have their usual second half, the Islanders are doomed.
Philadelphia has talent up front and potential on the blue line. They aren’t great but they look pretty good most nights.
The Devils roster looks weak to my eyes. But I have said that every year for two decades and somehow they prove me more wrong each year. Good for them. Bad for you.
Pretty soon it might start feeling like those Milbury years, like those early Snow years — and frankly, those middle and some late Snow years. Looking for silver linings and golden lottery tickets.
If the Islanders don’t make the playoffs, they will be probably be mathematically eliminated near the end of March. But that same math may have them virtually eliminated pretty darn soon.