Upcoming schedule is the best and last chance for the NY Islanders to go on a run

The Islanders have a favorable upcoming schedule they try to get back in playoff position

Feb 29, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) receives
Feb 29, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) receives / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The two-game road trip to Dallas and Detroit could've (or shoud've) buried the New York Islanders once in for all in the Easter Conference playoff race. However, that would have been too predictable in this crazy 2023-24 season. Instead, the Isles came away with a 3-2 overtime win against the central division leading Stars and snapped the Red Wings six-game winning streak, scoring their first empty net goal of the season in the process.

You know what the best part is? They didn't steal either game. They were the more deserving team.

After favorable results last night, including the Washington Capitals defeating the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils falling to the Anaheim Ducks, the Isles find themselves five points behind Philly for third place in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand. The second Wild Card spot is also suddenly in each as well, training the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points, having played three fewer games.

“It’s funny because I think people considered us to be quite a ways out of it when we’re not that far out of it,” forward Brock Nelson told amNewYork after Friday's practice. “With the confident group that we have and the ability to go on a run, things can change fast.”

Things can change fast and the upcoming schedule is providing an opportunity for that.

First things first, the Islanders have to find a way to get two points at home tonight against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders were booed off the ice in their home game, a Saturday afternoon 4-2 loss to the Lightning. They are due for a big game against the home fans.

After that, they play five of their next six games against teams not in playoff position. Now, you may say, so are the Islanders, but if they can start playing their best hockey now and Ilya Sorokin starts looking like the goaltender from last season, this is when ground will made up.

After tonight's game, the Islanders host the St. Louis Blues, who are in a similar situation as the Isles are in the Western Conference. St. Louis scored three goals in 34 seconds and blanked Patrick Roy's team 4-0 earlier in the week. After that it's an always tricky west coast road trip against the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. That's a trip where you must come away with at least four points. Then's a flight back across the country to visit the Buffalo Sabres before returning home against the Ottawa Senators.

No game is easy in the NHL, and the Islanders have proven that time and time again this season. However, on the other side of this stretch are games the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets, and Detroit Red Wings - four current playoff teams, three locks for the post-season.

The Islanders have been talking about going on a run for a while now. They really haven't gone on a sustained one all season. This may be their last and best chance to do so.