During the last week and a half, the New York Islanders basically took control of the Metropolitan Division by beating the Devils, Blue Jackets, Rangers and Penguins by a combined score of 17-7. Indeed, the Islanders came alive in the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins and went on a scoring spree to beat the Pens 6-3. What gave me chills watching this game on TV was the chant “You can’t beat us!” by the Islanders faithful, which was noticed by Islanders announcer Howie Rose. I wanted to research that claim by the fans a little further and find out how well they play against their divisional rivals and what I found was quite intriguing.
The Islanders current record against the rest of the Metropolitan Division is 14-2-0, which is good for first place. Since the 2010-2011 season, the Atlantic/Metropolitan division winner always had the best record against their divisional rivals. Can the Islanders continue this trend? Here’s a look at the division record of each team in the Metro:
1. Islanders 14-2-0
2. Rangers 12-3-1
3. Caps 10-2-4
4. CBJ 5-6-2
5. Pens 6-7-3
6. Devils 6-8-4
7. Flyers 5-8-2
8. Canes 5-8-3
A few things stand out for me. First, there’s no guarantee the Pens can make the playoffs if this trend continues in their own division. Second, through 2 games the Islanders are 2-0 against the Rangers this year and have outscored the Rangers by a 9-3 margin. Third, the Islanders are 2-1 against the Caps with a combined score of 9-10. The Isles are 2-0 against the Caps at the Coliseum so far this year. If there’s a team that makes me nervous, it’s the Caps and it would benefit the Isles if they gain home ice advantage. But here is a huge number that sticks out and actually validates the fans chant: The Islanders are undefeated at home (8-0-0) against their divisional rivals.
So this chant of “You can’t beat us!” to go along with the “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant holds a lot of merit as Nassau Coliseum turns into Fort Never-Lose once again when the Islanders are facing their rivals within the Metropolitan Division. As the season continues, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Islanders are no longer just a playoff team, but a team looking to dominate at home for the duration of the season and possibly beyond. One goal is certain: home ice advantage will not only be necessary, but very advantageous.