Over their last ten games, the New York Islanders have gone 7-3-0. That is the best record in the Metro (over the last ten games for each of the eight teams). The Capitals have the next best record in the Metro with a 6-4-0 over their last ten.
The Islanders have been chasing the last Wild Card spot all year long, but only recently have they started making up ground on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And with the points gap at eleven now, fans have started believing (kind of) that they might be able to turn it around.
New York Islanders: Can we believe?
After the Islanders' 4-3 win over the Devils and the Capitals' 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the points lead the Caps held over the Isles was cut down to eleven.
That's still a big gap, but it's not as big as it once was. It's still not enough for the Islanders to control their own destiny. According to playoffstatus.com, the Isles have a 2% chance of making the 8th playoff spot in the East. Even if the Islanders win out the remainder of their schedule, they need other teams to "help" them.
If the Isles are going to make the playoffs, they need the Caps to start dropping games over the final month of the season. With two games against the Caps in the month of April (in the final three games of the season mind you), the Islanders can help themselves by winning both. But they still have to hope Washington goes on to drop a few more and the Isles continue winning.
That last part won't be easy. Of the Islanders' remaining 14 games, more than half of them (eight to be specific) are against the top three teams in the Metro and Atlantic divisions. And a total of 12 of the Isles remaining 14 games are against playoff teams.
We've all said the team won't make the playoffs for a few months now. And we weren't wrong to think so then or to continue thinking they won't make it now.
But with nothing else to look forward to this year, fans have started to hope the team can turn it around. Again, it's a 2% chance, but what else is there really to hope for at this point?
The Islanders clearly aren't tanking (nor should they) so a top pick at the draft isn't necessarily in the cards. A late season playoff push is all we can really hope for at this point. Sure, the odds aren't in the Islanders favor, but until they're mathematically eliminated we're all clinging to that little bit of hope.