Before New York Islanders players can enjoy a short break from the exhausting life of being an NHL player, they head to Las Vegas to take on the dominant Golden Knights.
If I told you in October that the Golden Knights would be the second best team in hockey at the All-Star break, you would have laughed right in my face. A team comprised of depth forwards and bottom pairing defensemen has put together the best season any expansion team has ever had, and the New York Islanders will see that first hand tonight.
The Islanders had an off-day yesterday where players were able to enjoy all the wonderful “activities” Las Vegas offers.
Tonight’s game has the potential to set the Islanders up for a successful end to the season. Let’s take a look at how the game will affect the Standings.
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The Crowded Metropolitan Division
Sitting at 53 points in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders are right where they want to be heading into the break. After a rough stretch, the team is surprisingly still in the playoff picture (two points out of a wild card spot), and a win tonight would make the break much more relaxed for players, coaches, and fans.
Only three points separate the second place Devils and seventh place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, and tonight is a great time for the Islanders to make a move in the standings.
Every team in the Division plays tonight, meaning a win tonight is critical for the New York Islanders. If everything goes well, the Islanders could move up to fourth spot in the Division, hopping three teams in only one night.
If the Islanders lose and every other team in the Division wins, the Islanders will dig themselves into a hole going into the break, which will affect the team mentally and affect the team as the season comes to a close.
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A Victory Tonight Can Do Wonders
Going into the All-Star break with a win can do wonders for this young Islanders team. Gaining momentum now could push the Isles forward as they tackle the latter stages of the season.
The Islanders have huge games against divisional rivals when they return from the break, including two games against the Rangers, Capitals, Devils, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, and Penguins. Obviously winning those games is what will determine the fate of the Islanders for this season (and perhaps the future, cough cough John Tavares).
Tonight is a time to step up, show some grit, and steal a game. Every point matters, so tonight is one of those must-win games that come around every-so-often on the schedule.
The Islanders might have been out enjoying Las Vegas last night, but they must get their heads back in the game and beat a very difficult Vegas team. The rest of the year would be much easier with a win, so it is time for New York to step up and beat one of the best teams in the NHL on their home-turf.