Top Spots In East Still Up For Grabs For The Islanders
By Matt O'Leary
Last night, the New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot for the third year in a row, something they haven’t done since 2002-2004. It goes to show, just how important it is to have stability in the front office and behind the bench.
While everyone is thrilled that the Islanders are playoff-bound, they still have a chance to improve in the standings with five games remaining. As it stands now, they have 67 points and are in third, two points behind Washington and one four points behind Pittsburgh.
The remaining schedule for the Isles is as follows:
vs New Jersey
vs New Jersey
The final five games are pretty favorable to the Islanders as they’ve faired well against Buffalo, New Jersey, and Boston this year. The Islanders are 6-0 against Buffalo, 5-2 against Boston, and 5-1 against the Devils for a combined record of 16-3.
With a points percentage of .842 against those three teams, that would mean with 10 points up for grabs the Islanders, using their record from this year, will pick up eight of them. That would mean 75 points for the Islanders as their season comes to a close. Now, what about Pittsburgh and Washington?
Like most of the East, the Penguins have dominated the Sabres with a 5-1 record so far but against Philadelphia, they’ve struggled a little bit with a 2-3-1 record. Combined, that’s a 7-4-1 record with a points percentage of .625.
Based on their points percentage, the Penguins will pick up five points having them finish with 76 on the season (one ahead of the Islanders).
The Capitals have struggled against the Rangers this year going 2-4 so far. They’ve dominated Philly with a 5-1 record and have been okay against Boston so far with a 3-4 record against the Bruins.
Combined, that’s a 10-9 record or a points percentage of .526. With 10 points up for grabs that means, the Caps would be likely to finish with five of them, having them finish with 74 points, one point behind the Islanders in this exercise.
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Sure, it’s possible that the Isles get up to first still or even drop down to fourth, but all things considered, I think you’re likely to see them finish in second or third in the division. Over the final week, expect a lot of scoreboard watching.