Well, here we are. The NHL regular season has come to an end. This season has been very unique, as there are many less games scheduled and the divisions are split up differently than usual. Although the layout of this current NHL season is different, the winning ways of the Islanders has remained the same.
The New York Islanders have a current record of 31-15-5 which is good for 67 points and third place in the Mass Mutual East Division. This year has been a roller coaster for the Islanders as they had some really hot streaks and really cold streaks. Recently, they were on a cold streak as they lost three games in a row to the Washington Capitals. However, this skid ended as the Islanders bounced back with back-to-back shutouts against the New York Rangers. The goaltending for the Islanders was out of this world over the season, but their offense was subpar. Saying this, let’s examine how successful they will be in the playoffs.
As we all know, the Islanders made a deep run in the bubble last postseason making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now that most of the team has that hefty playoff experience it will benefit the overall roster. As of right now the Islanders are slotted to play against the Capitals. This would not be good for the Islanders at all because they had a 2-6 record against the Capitals this season. Personally, I want to see the Islanders match up against the Bruins in the first round because they have played them very tough this entire season. I wish I could say the same about the Capitals, but it appears the Islanders love to puck watch whenever they play Washington. Do I think the Islanders can beat the Capitals? Yes of course I do. Throughout the Islanders-Capitals rivalry, the Capitals have a 117-94-13-6 record. Yet when it comes to the postseason, the Islanders have won 25/42 playoff series. I expect the Islanders to beat the Capitals in the playoffs if they can stick to their defensive system and play “boring” hockey.
The Capitals would be the Islanders toughest matchup in my opinion. So if they can beat the Capitals, then the Islanders can make another far postseason run. The second round would either be the Bruins or Penguins. Like I previously said, I want the Bruins just because of how well the Islanders play against them as of late. But I also would not be scared about the Penguins because the Isles own the Pens in the playoffs. The Islanders have the ability to be the team that makes it out of the East Division, but it really depends on their execution.
The winner of the East Division is going to play the winner of the Central Division in Round 3, which would be the Eastern Conference Final. If the Islanders win out in the East Division; they would likely be playing the Panthers, Lightning, or Hurricanes. These are all tough match ups, but I really believe that this is the Islanders year. No matter which team it is, the series will definitely go to 6 or 7 games. The winner will ultimately be who works harder and who wants to go to the cup finals more. Can this be the Islanders? 100%. I’m hoping that the Islanders play Islanders hockey so I am able to see them in the first Stanley Cup of my lifetime.
So, after evaluating the possibilities of the Islanders playoff run, I will share what I expect them to do. I really believe that anything short of Round 3 is a disappointment for the Islanders. If the Islanders have ever had any chance to win the Cup, this is their best chance. With the combination of offensive firepower and a brick-wall of a goaltending tandem, there is no excuse for the Islanders to not go all the way. I do not think they will win the cup, but I do believe it is extremely possible. This would also be the perfect year for them to win their first cup in almost 40 years because it is their last season at Nassau Coliseum. I’m hopiong that Barry Trotz and Mat Barzal can bring home Lord Stanley to Long Island.