With the Islanders at 5-8-4 and entering a three game California tour of Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles, the New York Islanders find themselves toying with the idea of not making the playoffs. In order for the Islanders to keep in the race, they’ll need to win at least 2 out of the next three and hope that teams like the Devils, Bruins, Senators and Panthers continue to either lose or struggle. Make no mistake, the Isles have until game 30 before I will officially declare them out of the playoffs, which would put them around Christmas time, but the Islanders need to rack up a few wins if they want to keep the season going.
Have the Islanders improved since the first ten games? Depends on your point of view. The last 7 games have seen the Isles go 1-2-4. If there’s one positive, they’re not losing in regulation and are getting points. That’s about all I’ve got. Despite the overall point total, the Islanders are not the worst team in the League. That distinct honor goes to the Calgary Flames. The Isles are tied for 20th with the St. Louis Blues for goals-for per game and 24th with goals-allowed per game. Both special teams are rancid at this point, so there’s no point in beating a dead horse.
I’ve said before that this Islanders season depended on three player to step up: Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson. So far, only Nelson has been decent so far. The goaltending has not been good and it’s time for Jack Capuano to play the hot goaltender. If the Isles win against Anaheim tonight and Greiss is in net, you play Greiss the next night until you see him completely unravel. The Islanders still have one-too-many goalies and about two-too-many centers. Someone should be traded for any kind of forward who needs a change of scenery and for the Isles to have some kind balance at certain positions.
I usually stay on the positive side of things, but I will not sugar-coat this: If the Isles lose the next three games, they’re out. It’s one thing to play the percentages like I do, but when the 8th place spot can land from 96-102 and the Isles would be on pace for 57 points after 20 games, you don’t make the playoffs. For those who still think they can after this trip are just “California Dreamin.”