Islanders Must Exploit Upcoming Home Heavy Schedule
By Billy Lewis
Through nine games the New York Islanders are sitting at 3-4-2, which leaves them towards the bottom of the Metropolitan “MassMutual” division. They are now only ahead of the New York Rangers in the division standings.
After being shut out in New Jersey to start off the Isles five-game road trip, the Islanders took a late loss in Washington, giving up the losing goal with around 30 seconds to go. The second game in Washington ended up being one of the worse losses in the Barry Trotz era.
The Isles rebounded by going up 3-0 in the first period. Then saw the Capitals score the next six goals to beat the Isles 6-3. After two up and down games in Philly, the Isles managed two points with two overtime losses.
In a normal season, eight points through nine games wouldn’t be overly concerning. However, in this shortened 56 game season, the Isles have already played just under 20% of their season. After playing just two home games early on, the Islanders are looking at playing five of the next six at home.
New York Islanders Imperative Home Rebound
The Islanders did make the most of their first two home games, going 2-0. Now, they’re scheduled to host the Sabres twice, and the Penguins twice, with a game against the Rangers at MSG between the two Penguins games. The last game of the homestretch will be a rematch against the Bruins, whom the Isles beat 1-0 in the home opener at the Coliseum.
As of February 1, the Capitals and Flyers are tied on top of the division with 15 points. The next four teams sit between with 0-12 points, and the Islanders in seventh place at eight points. The Islanders will be taking on three of those teams in this homestand.
The Islanders will need a great homestand to get back into the playoff conversation. At the bare minimum 4-2-0 would get the Isles in a decent place. After losing the last five, winning five of these next six could do wonders.
This shortened season is all divisional games, so it would behoove the Islanders to not only win the games but do so in regulation. The Isles need a quick turnaround because as Yogi Berra would say, “It gets late early out there.”