3 reasons fans can still be optimistic about the Islanders in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs

The New York Islanders may be down 2-0 following a crushing loss on Monday to the Carolina Hurricanes, but there is still reason for optimism.
Apr 22, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York  New York Islanders center Bo Horvat (14)
Apr 22, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York New York Islanders center Bo Horvat (14) / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The Isles have surprised us before when all hope looked lost

If there is a single team in the NHL this season that had us all convinced they would miss the playoffs only to pull off an unprecedented string of wins, it’s been the Islanders. A 29-25-15 record worth just 73 points and a minus-26 goal differential after 69 games gave even the most optimistic fan zero hope that there would be playoffs on Long Island this season. 

Let’s go back to March 21st, 2024, when the Isles resided in fourth in the wild card race and five points behind the second-place Detroit Red Wings. Keyword phrase: Wild card race. We now know the Isles ultimately didn’t make it into the NHL Playoffs as a wild card because they took third place in the Metropolitan Division, which, at the time, they sat six points out of. 

The Philadelphia Flyers had 79 points, and it looked like they were about to succeed on their own unprecedented playoff run. But the Flyers bad stretch came at the worst possible time; the Red Wings never managed to get consistent, and the Isles 21 points in the next 13 games allowed them to draw the Hurricanes in Round 1. 

Few saw the Islanders getting this far, and fewer are seeing that same team embarking on yet another heartbreaking run. But the Isles surprised us multiple times this year, so what’s one more?