With thirteen games left for the exciting New York Islanders, the Metropolitan Division is still certainly up for grabs. At the same time, the playoffs are not guaranteed just yet. The Islanders are two points away from once again taking the Division lead from the Washington Capitals, but they are also a mere six points from being out of a Playoff spot and crazier things have happened before.
The Islanders have gotten off-track recently, holding a 5-4-1 record in their last ten games. The Islanders were due to regress at some point of the season. It was inevitable. However, on Tuesday night the Islanders pulled out a huge 2-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Currently the Blue Jackets are six points behind the Islanders, so anything despite a regulation win would’ve had some minor backlash. The most important takeaway from this game is that the Islanders were playing their noted “Islanders brand of hockey”.
“We played Islander hockey for a little bit. More than anything we raised our battle level. You talk about commitment and battle. We had lots of it in the third. They really didn’t get much. We defended really hard.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/4pWe8an8Hl
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 12, 2019
This was the biggest concern for the team, as they allowed some softer goals against the Flyers and Senators last week and really steered away from their invincible defense that they’ve been known for this season. One attribute to all of this was the return of the “Best Fourth Line in Hockey” as both Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck were back and healthy to play alongside Casey Cizikas once again. This proves why Matt Martin is one of the biggest assets on this team, despite being a “fourth liner.”
The Islanders have a legitimate possibility to win the Metropolitan Division, which would be their first division title since 1987-88, back when it was known as the Patrick Division and the Islanders were led by a twenty-two year old Pat LaFontaine.
One positive attribute towards the Islanders chances of winning the Metropolitan Division is the Islanders remaining strength of schedule (SOS). Per PowerRankingsGuru.com, the New York Islanders have the fifteenth-easiest schedule with their remaining games, as they only play seven of their remaining thirteen games against Playoff teams. More importantly, the Washington Capitals have a difficult SOS. They have the third-most difficult schedule remaining, as they’re due to face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning three times out of their remaining twelve games.
The Islanders certainly have a chance to win their first division title in over thirty years. But the Islanders have to get back to playing their physical, unique brand of hockey. Only time can tell whats in store for the Islanders; however they need to worry only about what they can control. Right now, that is playing against a tough Montreal Canadiens team on Thursday night at NYCB Live. You can catch the action live by using code drive4five on SeatGeek for $20 off your tickets!