The New York Islanders are in, for now at least. They absolutely backed into the playoffs, there no question, but the Islanders absolutely deserve this.
Turn up Ice-Cube, cause today is a good day. The New York Islanders are in a playoff position. Just 30 days ago they were the last place team in the eastern conference and double digits from a wild-card.
Sure, the Islanders didn’t actually pass the demarcation line between the cream of the crop and the other eight eastern conference teams. They crossed the line because the Florida Panthers lost to the Edmonton Oilers last night.
The Panthers and Isles were tied with 66 points before the puck dropped at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. But the Panthers held the advantage of having a game in hand and thus winning the first tiebreaker; points share.
But with a loss in regulation, the Panthers lost their point share advantage to draw level with the Islanders. The second tiebreak is ROW (regulation and overtime wins) which the Islanders win by a margin of 27-25. And so the last wild-card position goes to the Islanders.
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Small, but Deserved Victory
Backing into the playoffs isn’t the greatest of achievements in-and-of-itself. They’re in thanks to another team’s misfortune. I understand that. There’s no glamor in that.
Getting in with a big statement victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs last week, rather than being completely embarrassed 7-1, would have been much better. There’s no denying it. Or even beating New Jersey last Saturday.
Getting it done on their own, without the help of another team would have been better. But let’s not take anything away from the fact that without that 12-4-2 run between Jack Capuano’s last game and the Doug Weight regime the Islanders wouldn’t have been in a position to back into the last wild-card.
If the Islanders didn’t play above 500 there’s no way they get the chance to have some tiebreaker decide if they play past the regular season or not.
There’s still a lot of work to do. The Islanders still have eight back-to-back road games to play, starting tonight against Montréal. But there’s no reason not to beLIeve now.