In many eyes the New York Islanders are still underdogs, but here are three reasons why they will make the Stanley Cup Final in 2021.
It feels like a long time ago that the New York Islanders were on their magical run to the Eastern Conference finals that ended in heartbreak after six games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But as they say, “the show must go on!” and indeed the Islanders and the NHL will return on January 13th to start the 2021 regular season.
The Islanders’ ride last summer to the ECF gave many fans hope in this team and franchise. They performed extremely well in the postseason bubble and the question is, can the blue and orange do it again?
There is a great case that the Isles can hit the heights they made last season and there is no doubt that they can take it one step further. Here are three reasons why the Islanders will be in the Stanley Cup Final this year:
3. Success in the Division
This year is all about the division. Teams are only playing a schedule that is comprised of divisional opponents only and the top four teams of each division make the playoffs. Then the first two rounds of the playoffs are against your division. Make it to the semi-finals and you’ll get to play your first non-divisional game of the year.
This means that the Islanders will play the same seven teams the whole season in the new “East Division.” The Islanders are extremely familiar with many of these teams as five of them were in the Metropolitan Division with the Isles last season and the blue and orange faced two of these teams in the 2020 playoffs.
In the past couple of seasons, the Isles have performed extremely well against teams in their own division and that is one of the main reasons why the Islanders have made the playoffs.
Last year, the Islanders had a 12-6-3 record against their new divisional opponents. That is an outstanding record, even though it is a small sample size. The Isles will be looking for more of the same in 2021.