The New York Islanders are in the midst of a season-long nine game road trip. With all the teams the Islanders are competing with for the playoffs, the bottom line is they need to keep winning. Because there’s only one path to the playoffs for the Islanders.
If the New York Islanders were in the Atlantic division, their playoff chances would increase exponentially. Nothing is set in the Atlantic, as the three automatic playoff spots in the division are very much up for grabs.
However, being in the Metropolitan division is a whole different ballgame. With the season’s the Capitals, Penguins, Blue Jackets, and Rangers are having, the top three automatic spots in the Metro and the first wild-card in all likelihood are set. That leaves just one playoff spot open for the Islanders.
Not only do the Islanders have to beat out all of the teams below them in the Metro but also all the teams in the Atlantic after the top three in the division.
The Islanders are in competition with a number of teams which make a post-season berth this Spring, a very difficult task.
New York Islanders
With all the teams the Islanders are fighting in terms of the second wild-card in the East, it makes nightly scoreboard watching very dizzying for an Isles fan.
It’s quite possible the teams below the Islanders in the Metro (Flyers, Devils, and Hurricanes) could be sellers at the trade deadline.
It could turn out that none of the three wind up being a threat to the Isles for that second wildcard spot. But all three will have a big impact on whether or not the Islanders make the playoffs, as the Isles play these teams six more times this year.
Having said that the Islanders may have to beat out as many as four teams in the Atlantic, with the standings as tight as they are.
A big plus for the Islanders is each contending Atlantic division team will be facing off against each other a number of times before the end of the regular season. This is good news for the Isles provided these games don’t go into overtime and result as three points in the standings.
When you add all of this up, the Islanders have no choice but to finish strong in order to give themselves an opportunity at the postseason. The number of teams competing for the playoffs, the kind of finish they must achieve, and the amount of road games left, if the Isles make the playoffs they will have earned it.
The playoffs have already begun for the Islanders. But unlike a seven-game series, the Isles will have to do a lot better than winning four out every seven.