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Islanders are a strong dark horse for 2020 Stanley Cup

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 18: Betting lines are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, which features new screens on its entire 240-by-20 foot, 4,488-square-foot HD video layout, after the property opened for the first time since being closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on June 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hotel-casinos throughout the state were allowed to open on June 4 as part of a phased reopening of the economy with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. The Westgate, which first opened as the International in 1969, had planned to reopen with designated non-smoking, mask-required table games over half of its casino floor, as well as designated mask-required elevators. On Wednesday, citing updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued an industry notice updating its health and safety policy. It dictates that all players at table and card games must wear face coverings if there is no barrier between the dealer and each player. The policy applies to spectators or anyone else within six feet of a game. Also, properties must offer face masks or cloth coverings to guests as they enter the casino or have dedicated signage alerting patrons that they are available. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 18: Betting lines are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, which features new screens on its entire 240-by-20 foot, 4,488-square-foot HD video layout, after the property opened for the first time since being closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on June 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hotel-casinos throughout the state were allowed to open on June 4 as part of a phased reopening of the economy with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. The Westgate, which first opened as the International in 1969, had planned to reopen with designated non-smoking, mask-required table games over half of its casino floor, as well as designated mask-required elevators. On Wednesday, citing updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued an industry notice updating its health and safety policy. It dictates that all players at table and card games must wear face coverings if there is no barrier between the dealer and each player. The policy applies to spectators or anyone else within six feet of a game. Also, properties must offer face masks or cloth coverings to guests as they enter the casino or have dedicated signage alerting patrons that they are available. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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It’s a mistake to sleep on the New York Islanders in 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The New York Islanders were 2-4-4 over their last ten games of the 2019-20 season before it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres held worse records going into the ‘break’.

Three of those five teams did not make the cut for the final 24 teams so clearly the Isles weren’t in the best shape when things ended.

And it seems that because of that poor run at the end of 2019-20, odds-makers don’t favor the New York Islanders to make much noise in the 2020 post-season.

Bad Odds

Most betting sites give the Islanders some bad odds to hoist the 2020 Stanley Cup.

  • The Action Network: +4000 (t-14)
  • Bodog: +7000 (t-24)
  • Sports Interaction: 51.00 (t-19)
  • BetOnline: +6000 (t-18)

The Islanders just aren’t seen as a threat to make noise in the post-season. But I think it’s important to remember just what the Islanders were capable of this season.

From October 1, 2019, to January 1, 2020 (over half the season), the Islanders held the fourth-best record in the NHL at 25-10-3 for 53 points. Six points back and with three games in hand on the then league-leading Washington Capitals.

They put up a franchise-record 17-game point streak from October 12 to November 23 where they beat teams like:

  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • St Louis Blues
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Florida Panthers (twice)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (twice)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (twice)

Just in case you thought the Isles were perfectly healthy during that stretch, let me remind you that:

  • Casey Cizikas: 4 games missed
  • Jordan Eberle: 10 games missed
  • Nick Leddy: 3 games missed
  • Matt Martin: 9 games missed
  • Tom Kuhnhackl: 11 games missed
  • Leo Komarov: 9 games missed

Of course, some of those injuries may not have the same impact on the roster as others, but the point is clear. The Isles weren’t healthy and yet still they steamrolled the league for over a month.

Now that they’re healthy again and have guys like Adam Pelech and Casey Cizikas ready to go and have a full two-week training camp for Barry Trotz to get them back to playing the type of hockey that has the Islanders ranked as the fifth-best team in the NHL since 2018-19.

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It’s not to say the New York Islanders will win the Stanley Cup, but they certainly aren’t the bottom dwellers their odds make them out to be. If there’s a team that people are sleeping on who could make a run, it’s the New York Islanders.

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