New York Islanders 2018-19 Schedule Remains Up And Down
According to Hockey Reference, the New York Islanders have a particularly easy schedule for the remainder of the season. Looking at the schedule I’m not sure about that.
Hockey Reference gives the New York Islanders a -0.5 strength of schedule. That’s the 26th weakest of all 31 teams in the NHL. The Devils face the toughest schedule with a 0.13 rating.
When you think about it, that rating makes sense for the New York Islanders. They have yet to play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the St. Louis Blues. Both teams are at the bottom of their division and the standings.
They still have two games against the Arizona Coyotes who are still aren’t very good. And the Isles still have three games to go against struggling divisional rival Philadelphia Flyers.
But when you look at the layout of the Islanders schedule you can see that it won’t be that easy.
It Won’t Be That Easy
The remainder of December won’t be easy. The Islanders first head out on a West coast road trip including a stop against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche. Then to close out 2018 they have games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the Buffalo Sabres.
In January the isles get two games against the Blackhawks, Blues, and the Rangers. Two teams struggling this season (one with a worse power play) and then the Rangers. A team the Islanders have dominated recently.
The Isles will end January with a league-mandated break week starting the 23rd and ending on February 1st as they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Coliseum. Historically, no team comes out of the break-week well. And against the Lightning, it couldn’t have ended any worse.
The Islanders will have to take full advantage of their relatively easy January schedule to bank some points. Because February is going to be tough.
February is filled with pitfalls and perils for the New York Islanders. In a span of ten games, they play the Oilers and Flames twice. The face the Avalanche and the Sabres again. All of that before welcoming John Tavares back to the Island on the 28th.
March gets easier in terms of the competition. They face the Philadelphia Flyers three times. They play the Ottawa Senators twice and both the Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings once.
But the difficulty with March has to do with the sheer number of games they play. The Islanders play sixteen games in March with two back to backs. Their longest break in the entire month is a two-day break from March 12th to 13th. They’re almost quite literally playing every other night.
Thankfully, nine of those games will be played at home (all at the Nassau Coliseum). The Isles home record isn’t fantastic but at 8-5-3 its at least .500 or a 0.594 points percentage.
In case you were wondering a 0.594 is good. Over the course of an 82 game season that returns 97 points.
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While the New York Islanders might seem to have an easy schedule on paper, when you actually look at it it doesn’t look that easy at all.