With only five games left in the season, the New York Islanders have an uphill battle to make the playoffs. Now, instead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Islanders have a new opponent to pass up: the Boston Bruins. The catch is instead of the three-point gap to close, the Islanders now have a 4-point gap and an injured captain.
The Islanders were able to pull off an overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it wasn’t enough to boost morale for the team. Their next bout against the Bruins should have been an easy one. But, after a devastatingly close loss against the Bruins, the Islanders’ playoff chances have become razor thin. While the Bruins went on to win their next two games, the Islanders have only just recovered from their loss. Their last win against the New Jersey Devils, unfortunately, came at the cost of an injury. Captain John Tavares is currently listed as week-to-week with a hamstring injury and will likely be out for the rest of the season.
It’s going to be an amazingly tough next five games for the Islanders. Luckily, they did bring Jaroslav Halák back up from Connecticut, and he’s been a huge asset. The only loss with Halák in the net was the Philadelphia Flyers, but that may be more on Thomas Greiss. Greiss let three shots through in just over eight minutes. Halák still lets through three shots over the course of the game, but he kept the Flyers a little more at bay.
The team is stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place as the final stretch of the season begins. They need to fight tooth and nail to make the playoffs, but they need to make sure they still have some energy left. Otherwise, they’ll only last a few games after the season and that’s not worth overexerting and maybe causing another injury. With their game against the Buffalo Sabres, their best bet is a victory and riding that momentum to the playoffs. Otherwise, it may be better for the Islanders to lick their wounds and come back with a vengeance next season.