New York Islanders Remaining 2017-18 Schedule One of Easiest In NHL

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 25: Anthony Beauvillier
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 25: Anthony Beauvillier /

The New York Islanders are a single point out of the playoffs. They can use any advantage at their disposal. And their schedule looks like it’s on their side.

There are less than 30 games left for the New York Islanders to make the playoffs. There are less than 60 points up for grabs for them to, at the very least, jump up a single spot into a wild card position.

As of right now, they’re right there. They’re level on points with the Columbus Blue Jackets with 58. Only an inferior goal differential keeps them out of the post-season at the moment. After all the trial and tribulations of the season, the Islanders are actually still in the hunt for the post-season.

We all wish this hunt didn’t exist and that the Islanders could make the post-season comfortably. But we’re New York Islanders fans, we don’t get comfortable.

In order to make the playoffs, the Isles could take whatever advantage they can get. Looking at their schedule, they might just get some help.

Strength of Schedule

Measuring the quality of the opposition that the Islanders have left on the schedule reveals they have one of the easiest in the league. This is how SOS is measured according to Hockey Reference:

"Strength of Schedule; a rating of strength of schedule. The rating is denominated in goals above/below average, where zero is average. Doug Drinen of has written a great explanation of this method."

The teams to worry about, or teams with an above average goals rating, are the Maple Leafs, the Lightning, the Golden Knights, the Bruins and the Jets. Of the five teams, the Islanders face the Maple Leafs another two times this season and the Lightning once. That’s it.

The rest of the teams they face in the remainder of the season either have marginal above average goal totals or are below average.

Looking at the Metropolitan Division itself the Islanders have the easiest strength of schedule with the Devils and the Blue Jackets having some of the toughest in the division. Only the Capitals have a similarly weak schedule, but they’re out of sight with a nine-point advantage and a game in hand.

All that to say that based purely on the New York Islanders scheduled, they have a chance to catch keep up and even pass some of the teams in their own division.

I know the schedule itself doesn’t answer for the Islanders absolutely fragile defense at the moment. But facing teams that have a tough time scoring so far this season can only be a good thing for an increasingly depleted Islanders blue line.

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At this point, the New York Islanders can take any and every advantage that they can get. And the relatively easy schedule is just that. An advantage. They still need to perform well. They still need to keep goals out. Strength of schedule just shows that they should have an easier time doing so. Hopefully.