Your prayers were answered Isles Nation!
Whether or not you wrote off the NY Islanders after their 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday night, all has been forgiven and forgotten. Lane Lambert's team received the help that seemed both improbable and impossible as the Chicago Blackhawks, losers of 12 of their previous 13 games and the worst team in the Western Conference, defeated Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Tuesday night.
The Pens loss handed the Islanders back their playoff fate and an opportunity to punch their trip to the post-season with a point in the regular season finale against the Montreal Canadiens at UBS Arena. Depending on the result on Wednesday night, the Islanders won't know exactly where they stand or who they will be playing until after Thursday night's slate of games.
Here are the latest Isles playoff scenarios after the Penguins’ loss:
- The Islanders clinch a playoff berth with one point vs. Montreal
- The Isles would earn the 7th seed with a regulation win and a Florida Panthers loss of any kind to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
- If the Isles win in Overtime or the Shootout, then Florida would be the 7th seed if they earn a point vs. the Hurricanes.
- If the Islanders lose in regulation to Montreal, they’ll need the Columbus Blue Jackets to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins to make the playoffs.
The Isles will be alive for a playoff spot no matter what happens at UBS Arena versus the Montreal Canadiens, but if the loss to the Capitals was inexcusable, a regulation loss to the Habs would be whatever is a lot worse than that. The Isles have to come out with the urgency and intensity that was questioned after Monday's loss, take control of the game early, get the crowd into it, and celebrate a return trip to the postseason.
They were given a second chance, one they cannot squander.