With only 11 more games to go in the season, the Islanders are going to have a rough time getting into the playoffs, but they’ve definitely got a chance. However, since they don’t have any real chance to get third in their division their biggest fight is with a team they won’t even play: the Toronto Maple Leafs. At a full 21 points shy of third place in their division, the Islanders need to overcome the three-point lead the Leafs have over them to even have a shot at the Cup. It won’t be a cakewalk, but I think they can do it.
Looking at their records earlier this season, I feel like there are four games the Islanders have a pretty good chance at winning. They face off against the Rangers today, and the Islanders have beaten them the last two times they played. Both 4-2, coincidentally. They beat the Boston Bruins both times they met on the ice and even shut them out most recently. It’s a bit riskier to say that they’ll beat the Devils since they’ve only squared off once, but it was recent enough that the Devils wouldn’t have too much time to improve. Not to say that any of these four games will be easy, but if the Islanders stay on top of their game they should be able to win.
There are four games out of this 11 that I simply have no idea where they’re going to go. The Islanders are 5 points behind the Predators, who they’ll play twice, but they’re untested against each other. They also have games against the Flyers and the Sabres, both teams that the Islanders have an even record with. The Islanders did win both of the most recent bouts with those teams, but that’s not a very clear indicator. These four games will probably where their playoff fate is decided.
These are the games that I’ve got no hope for. Is it pessimistic? Sure! But some may say it’s better than false hope. They’ve got a history of losing to the Penguins, the Senators and the Hurricanes this season. In fact, they’ve only won against these teams in overtime. These battles are likely to be grueling, but if they defeat the Penguins on Friday, that could go a long way to improving team morale and building much-needed momentum.
But what about the Leafs?
Again, using just win-loss records, the Leafs have pretty similar matchups for the last 11 games of the season. All in all, the Leafs have a slightly better shot at making the playoffs.Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be rooting against them from now until April 9th.
Featured Image photo credit goes to the Associated Press.