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Editorials

Islanders are unquestionably an elite team in the NHL

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders celebrates in the first period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during their game at Nassau Coliseum on February 28, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders celebrates in the first period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during their game at Nassau Coliseum on February 28, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders and their fans aren’t accustomed to receiving positive attention from the national media. Just look at how fans reacted to seeing the Islanders as the banner for the NHL’s official Twitter account.

But with the way the Isles are playing it’s hard to ignore them. After their third straight 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Isles are ranked fifth in the NHL for points this year (sixth when it comes to points-percentage).

In the first-intermission from Sunday’s win over the Sabres, NBC analyst Keith Jones said the Islanders were an elite team in the NHL, and he’s absolutely right.

New York Islanders are elite

So when you think of elite you think, of the top-tier teams, right? Say top five teams in the league. Again, the Isles are top four in points this year. They’re also one of the top four teams ever since the Islanders made that switch up top with Lou Lamoriello and on the bench with Barry Trotz.

Since 2018-19, the Islanders hold the fifth-best points percentage in the NHL. Only three recent Stanley Cup champions and two other hopefuls are ahead of them:

  1. Tampa Bay – 0.731 P% (2020 Stanley Cup Champions)
  2. Boston – 0.678 P%
  3. Washington – 0.646 P% (2018 Stanley Cup Champions)
  4. St Louis – 0.629 P% (2019 Stanley Cup Champions)
  5. New York Islanders – 0.620 P%

Remember, points percentage is important because we’ve got two years with un-even game totals (2019-20 and this season).

Sure, the Isles aren’t the most talented team in the NHL, it’s not that they don’t have any talent, but they play to their strengths and it works. At the end of the day, you can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t win, what’s the point?

When you think of elite teams you don’t just think about the teams who have the most talent, you think about those who get the most wins. And that’s the New York Islanders.

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