The New York Islanders just finished a successful nine-game road trip at a critical point and time of the regular season. Now, there are just 15 games left in the regular season and those games will decide if the Islanders make the playoffs. The Islanders are in the home stretch.
Clearly, the playoff race in the Eastern Conference for the second wild card is ridiculously tight. That spot is up for grabs between the New York Islanders, Maple Leafs, Lightning, Flyers, and the Panthers. The Bruins haven’t assured themselves anything as well.
The teams in the Atlantic fighting for their playoff lives go head to head against each other a few more times this season (either 4 or 5 times). As long as those games end in regulation this will be good news for the blue and orange, as they can potentially gain ground.
New York Islanders
Fresh off their 5-3-1 season-long road trip, the Islanders come home with just 15 games left on their schedule. Seven of them are at the Barclays Center and eight are away from home.
The Islanders face the Hurricanes three more times, as well as the Devils and Predators two more times each. Everyone else left on the Isles schedule they only have one game remaining with them in the regular season.
The Islanders host the Bruins and go to Philly in late March. They do not have any games remaining with Toronto, Tampa, or Florida.
The Isles have four sets of back to back games left on the schedule. Because of this, it would not be surprising to see Jaroslav Halak recalled soon.
The Islanders end the regular season with four of their final five on the road. Their last game of the regular season is at home versus Ottawa.
With the playoffs just a couple of days away at that point. If the game is meaningless for the Senators, they could rest many of their key players putting the ball firmly in the Islanders court.
This is a workable schedule for the Islanders. However, they must continue to play desperate hockey with every point being precious.
Who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t could come down to one point in the standings or even the ROW tiebreaker. Bring on the home stretch.