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New York Islanders Need Strong Finish at Home for Playoff Positioning

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 09: The New York Islanders prepare to play against the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 09, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Flyers defeated the Islanders 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 09: The New York Islanders prepare to play against the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 09, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Flyers defeated the Islanders 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders are in the homestretch of the season. Including tonight’s game against the Canadiens, they only have five home games left. With the standings as tight as they are, it is imperative the Islanders take care of business on Long Island.

It feels hard to believe that there is less than a month left of the NHL’s regular season. It seems like just yesterday we were getting ready for the season, waiting to see how the regime change would help the New York Islanders.

As we sit here five months later, it’s safe to say the 2018-2019 Islanders have surpassed even the most optimistic fan’s preseason expectation. That being said, the Islanders success this season has certainly changed the perspective and goals for the season.

The Isles were sitting on top of the division before the Capitals went on a seven-game winning streak. Since the calendar turned to March the Islanders and Capitals have been jostling for the top spot in the Metro division.

Entering tonight’s action the Capitals hold a two-point lead over the Islanders but have also played one extra game. The Isles have 13 games left this season and five of them will be on Long Island.

Need Home Cooking

The Islanders have a 21-11-4 home record to date this season. With the standings being as tightly contested as they are (the Penguins only sit two points back of the Isles) it is imperative the Islanders take care of business at home.

The Islanders need to have their eyes set on the division title. They haven’t won a division title since the 1987-1988 season but as they say, there is no time like the present.

Winning the division would set them up with a favorable first-round playoff matchup. Unless something unforeseen happens with the Lightning, the Metropolitan division winner will play the second Wild Card team, as it sits today that would be the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Finishing second or third would set up a first-round matchup with either the Penguins or Capitals. If the Islanders can finish 4-1-0 or at least 3-1-1 at home, they should be sitting pretty for a first-round home ice playoff series.

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