The next seven games could determine the fate of the NY Islanders season

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
New York Islanders v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After four straight losses (0-3-1) and falling behind two teams for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the fanbase is fed up and wound up. Expectations for the New York Islanders are back down to pre-wining streak levels after Sunday's listless performance against the New York Rangers when the circumstances called for so much more. 

Patrick Roy has appeared annoyed and bewildered during his post-game press conferences, surprised at how his veteran team has failed to live up to the moment and play a more energic and desperate brand of hockey, which more accurately represents where they sit in the standings.

The games leading to their six-game winning streak were the last best chance to go on a run and they did that, but have since given back much of what they gained. The reason why these prior 10 games, where the Isles captured 13 points (6-3-1), were so important, is because of the brutal stretch of games against high-quality opponents that started on Sunday and continues for the next two weeks.

With 15 games left, it’s not hyperbole that the next seven games could decide the Islanders’ season. If they are going to make the playoffs, they will have to earn it as they play six of seven games against playoff teams, starting tonight vs. Carolina at UBS Arena. That’s followed by a “four-point” game against one of the teams they’re chasing, the Detroit Red Wings. If they get past those two with a pulse, the Jets, Devils, Panthers, Flyers, and Lightning are next. Yikes.

One team they don’t play the rest of the way is the Washington Capitals, winners of three straight and the owners of the final wild-card spot. The Isles played their best hockey of the season just a few weeks ago, and despite how mediocre the race for the final playoff spot continues to be, you figure they’ll have to play even better over the next two weeks to get back in playoff position.