Tonight is Do Or Die for the NY Islanders

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Each game over the last month has felt like a "must-win" for the NY Islanders, but tonight's matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers truly is.

The Islanders head into tonight five points behind the Flyers for the Eastern Conference's second Wild Card spot with two games in hand. A loss would see them seven points out of playoff position with eight games remaining - making the task at hand nearly impossible. A win would see the Isles trailing by just three points and playing one of their games in hand tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks, and another on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets - both very winnbable matchups.

The Islanders offense has dried up since their 6-game winning streak, managing three goals in a game just three times in their last nine. Patrick Roy has thrown his lines in a blender, including playing Bo Horvat on the third-line wing, but the jumble hasn't seen the production the first-year Islanders head coach hoped for.

At this date last season the Isles held the first Wild Card position with 87 points through 78 games - the position they would ultimately finish the season.

The division rivals have faced off twice this season in a three-game span back in November. The Isles took two points in the first matchup in a 3-2 victory and managed one point a few days later as Samuel Ersson and Ilya Sorokin both recorded shutouts, but the Flyers took the second point in the shootout.

The Isles have had plenty of chances to make tonight just another game, but the team has put themselves into this unfortunate circumstance. Leaving Philadelphia without two points will essentially put a fork into the Islanders' season. It's become a theme that the team plays "Revival" by Zach Bryan in the locker room post-game after wins. After each of those wins, they've gone on to lose their next game. A loss tonight and there's a very slim chance of any playoff revival. Instead, they might need to shift their country playlist to "Where it Ends" by Bailey Zimmerman.