After an unexpectedly catastrophic start to the season for the New York Islanders, things may start to settle down. Ryan Pulock is the lone player on the injured reserve and expected back in a couple weeks. Kyle Palmieri is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Covid threat is always going to be lingering as the entire NHL is now experiencing. Mathew Barzal remains out with Covid, but the rest of the team has dodged that bullet the second time around…for now.
It took quite some time, but the Islanders have strung together two straight wins at their new home. Additionally, the Islanders are looking more and more like themselves.
New York Islanders are Going Streaking
Putting together a streak of wins is the most ideal start to climb up the standings, but this team will need time to find their games as a team and individuals.
J.G. Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom have stood out as of late, while the captain has steadily collected eight goals. It will take time for some to regain form, especially returning from injuries. The concern continues to grow for forwards Josh Bailey and Kyle Palmeri.
In the years past, this group has been able to put together some impressive win and point streaks. It is unrealistic to expect a duplication, but it is not a failure without a streak. The team cannot get every point back in one night, week or month.
The start of the new year is a good benchmark for the NHL teams. With six games remaining for the calendar year, the Islanders have a great opportunity to build some momentum for the new year.
The Islanders are currently ten points out of the last Wild Card spot with five games in hand on the Detroit Red Wings. Ideal spot? No. But impossible to jump up the standings? Yes!
Islanders Remaining Games are Winnable
The Islanders welcome former Islander, Robin Lehner, back on Sunday for the first of two games in two days. The second game will have the last place, Montreal Canadians visiting UBS Arena. As with everything these days, this schedule is all pending Covid decisions.
On Christmas Eve, Eve or Christmas Adam as I call it, the Islanders welcome the Washington Capitals for a holiday pre-game. Obviously, a difficult match up for the Islanders, but they will need to win some big contests to jump the standings.
Following the Christmas break, the Islanders head to Buffalo to play the Sabres. The Sabres are three points above the Islanders for now. Again, with games in hand, the Islanders have a chance to jump the Sabres just before the end of 2021.
Two days later, the Islanders welcome another former Islander back in Nick Leddy. Those Detroit Red Wings hold that last wild card spot and have beaten the Islanders twice this month.
As is the trend with the Islanders schedule, they play the very next night at home. This time, the Buffalo Sabres come to UBS Arena. These next few games to see out the month of December will be massive for the Isles attempt to jump back in the playoff race.