After another disappointing effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Islanders have a five-game stretch of games before a long road trip. On February 9, The Islanders head north to Western Canada for a three-game road trip. The road trip concludes in Buffalo on February 15th.
The Islanders have had trouble against the teams that currently hold a playoff spot. The recent victories have been against teams close in the standings.
Although the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are currently out of the playoffs, it is always a difficult task to grab points three out of four days on the road.
Islanders Home Games Continue
One Tuesday, the Islanders will face the Philadelphia Flyers for the third time in a week. Two days later, the Islanders welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Belmont. The Kings are in second place in the Pacific Division.
Saturday, Jordan Eberle returns to the Island as the Seattle Kraken play their first game against the Islanders in franchise history. This one will be played in the afternoon.
The very next night, the Islanders will take on the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, Minnesota Wild.
Finally, the Islanders will open February with a bought against the Ottawa Senators. The next seven days will be time to rest and travel across the border.
The most winnable games appear to be, again, against the non-playoff teams in the Flyers, Kraken and Senators. Though not given that these will be victories, it is imperative that two points are taken from those three games.
The Kings will be finishing up a lengthy road trip and may be drained. Nonetheless, the Islanders will need to have a much better effort if they are going to beat a team like the Kings.
On the other hand, the Wild will be at the start of a road trip when they arrive at UBS Arena. The Wild have a good mix of youth and veterans that has played a strong season thus far. An Islanders off-season target in Alex Goligoski will be visiting with a plus 18 and 23 points.
Taking eight points from the next five games will provide a boost for the road trip and bring the Islanders up to 42 points. This may be enough to jump some teams and start the road trip in a better position in the standings.
With the games in hand, it is difficult to judge the standings, but it is never a bad thing to jump teams that have been above you all season.
As the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaches, the Islanders will need to keep as close to a playoff spot as possible. If not, the direction of the team may change quickly and as soon as they return from the Western Canada trip.