Will 2012 be kinder to the Isles than 2011 was? We can only hope. January should offer a decent chance to get started off on the right foot.
Due to popular demand (ok-it was just Ozzy), the poll is back!
Here's the January schedule, including opponent records through December:
1/3 @CAR 13-21-6
1/6 @ANH 10-21-6
1/7 @PHX 19-16-4
1/10 vDET 24-13-1
1/12 vPHI 22-11-4
1/14 vBUF 17-17-4*
1/16 vNSH 21-14-4
1/17 @WAS 20-15-2
1/19 @PHI 22-11-4
1/21 vCAR 13-21-6*
1/23 @TOR 18-15-5
1/24 vTOR 18-15-5*
1/31 @CAR 13-21-6
* Indicates opponent playing second of back-to-back games.
Collective opponent record through December: 164-143-36.
There are thirteen games total, seven on the road. Only two games in the division (PHI both times), and four more against that Western Conference cooking we love so much.
There's a mix of weak and tough teams, but a lot of games on the slate that we really should be able to compete in. Landing a terrible Carolina team three times (they're worse than us!) is a serious boon. Add in Anaheim, and some teams we should (and can) compete with like Buffalo, Phoenix, and Toronto, and there is opportunity here. This is the first time our opponents' records is well below .500 as a whole (it was 1 game under in November).
There are a number of games bunched together this month, with the All Star game taking place January 29. The schedule works out nicely for our players who need a rest, as any Islanders not attending the festivities (read:all), will get six straight days of rest. Not bad.
As you can see we play back to back three times this month, including a home and home with the Leafs. Additionally, we are twice the first leg of a back to back, as Nashville plays at MSG after the 1/16 game and the Caps are in Montreal on 1/18.
December was somewhat disappointing, largely because of that stretch against the Rangers and Leafs, but we did end up 6-6-2, earning 14 of 28 possible points (is this the new .500?) against some pretty stiff competition. A good month here could really start to feel like progress, despite the overall frustration of another missed playoffs.