Some Isles' fans have been hoping that a shortened season will give the team a better chance at nabbing a playoff spot, on the theory that any team can get sufficiently hot over a shorter period of time. The air was let out of this hope a bit in this post (and the Lubo tragicomedy isn't helping as well). But this had me wondering, when was the last time the Islanders played at a playoff pace over a 48 game season?
I was surprised to learn that it wasn't that long ago. Assuming 93 points is enough to make the playoffs in a full season, a team would need to earn 54 points to make the playoffs in a 48 game season. The Islanders actually reached this level between mid-December 2010 and late-March 2011, when the collected 55 points over a 48 game period. The team got pretty close to this pace during a similar period during the past season (53 points).
Of course, both of these "hot streaks" were acheived during the second half of the seasons in which they occured, which means they were playing for much of the period without the pressure of a playoff race (although the Islanders were within striking distance of striking distance of the 8 seed for a good portion of last season). The last time the pace was reached earlier in the season was during the first half of the 2007-2008 campaign (which, of course, was a very different team).