The New York Islanders reached the midway point of the 2023-24 regular season with a 19-12-10 record for 48 points in 41 games, two points ahead of their pace last season when they finished with 93 points as the top wild card in the Eastern Conference.
The season is half over, and we don’t know what type of team the Islanders are. They're a team whose identity is supposed to be rooted in defensive structure and goaltending, and yet, the only thing keeping them in the playoff picture is that they can suddenly score with anybody.
The Islanders are right around where we all thought they'd be at this point in the season, but it's been anything but a straight line as to how they got there. Injuries and blown leads have been accompanied by tremendous individual seasons and some thrilling come-from-behind wins.
The second half of the season is sure to have its own ups and downs, twists and turns, and finishes that are both exhilarating and excruciating. We expect it, but that won't make fans any less emotional and passionate when it happens.
And with that, here's a list of our 5 biggest surprises in the first half of the Islanders season.