The New York Islanders have won back-to-back games and sit just two points out of the playoff picture at the moment, hoping to end a postseason drought that stretches back to 2007. It has been a season of ups and downs for the Islanders, who at times look like a legitimate contender and at other times look headed for a high draft pick. This week will go a long ways to showing whether the Islanders are for real, as they face three of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference in the next five days.
First up for the Islanders is a Tuesday meeting with the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have not lost in regulation in their last five games, and their league-best goals-against provides a tough test for the Islanders’ offense. Brad Boyes has one goal in two games against the Senators, while his linemates John Tavares and Matt Moulson have yet to light the lamp against them. Boyes has three goals and six points in the last four games.
On Thursday, the Islanders will face the Montreal Canadiens, who sit second in the conference at the moment and have the sixth-best goals-against in the league. The Islanders have won both previous meetings against the Canadiens while scoring nine total goals.
Finally, the Islanders face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, and will try to look better than they did in a 6-1 loss on Mar. 9. The Penguins have been the hottest team in the league in March, and are on a nine-game winning streak. The Islanders are 1-2 against the Penguins this season, with Evgeni Nabokov in goal for all three games.
If the Islanders can get a win or two, or at least a handful of points out of this week’s games it will go a long way to helping their case for the postseason. For most of the team, it would be the first time getting there and the biggest accomplishment of their respective careers.