The Islanders host the Senators for a 1 p.m. Presidents Day start.
This is a Gigantor-sized contest, as the Senators are one of the teams the Isles must catch to continue to dream their impossible playoff dream. Ottawa sits in seventh place, with four points' cushion over the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have a game in hand. The Isles have a game in hand on Toronto, and trail them by six points. That home-and-home sweep by the Leafs is a huge difference-maker right now - the Leafs outpointed the Isles 4-1 in those games. Flip that around and both teams are sitting at 61 points in the standings, and Washington would be eighth with their 63. The Islanders can't afford to let that sort of thing happen any more.
Luckily for anyone still hoping to watch a postseason game at the Coliseum (or, finally, on TWC), the Isles do get two more cracks at Ottawa after today, as well as two against the Capitals and a "Playoffs or Bust" sequence in mid-March: consecutive games against the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Lightning, and Panthers, all on the road. That's the place for a four-game winning streak.
This thread is going to stay open and serve as our gameday thread as well as a preview. A full recap will be up a little later than usual, thanks to the quirks of the moderator schedules: Dom's earning his Wilderness Living badge, Mark is playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, I'm trying to figure out why I haven't leaped, and Kevin needs lawyers, guns, and money. (Looooong story, that.)
Further Update: also via Staple (on Twitter): "Poulin in net, Okposo in lineup vs. Sens. Nabokov (flu) not skating, not traveling to Buffalo. Hamonic skating today at IceWorks.