As the season winds down, all of the playoff possibilities and scenarios suddenly take a narrowed focus. No longer are we thinking of wild scenarios like, "The Islanders would have to win 12 of their last 16" or something crazy like that. Instead, we have two to four games left for each team, the routes laid out with great clarity.
For the Islanders, they could even clinch a playoff spot tonight if the Jets lose and the Isles win in a combination that involves three total points (for the Isles + lost by the Jets). The Jets won in Buffalo last night but they have just two games left. The Senators lost to the Penguins, missing a chance to reclaim 6th place, and have just three games left.
And as you know, the Isles themselves have three games left including tonight in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. If they falter, they have two chances to recover on Thursday and Friday night. But if everything goes their way ... playoffs.
Links to warm you up:
- For Newsday's blog, Arthur Staple gives Thomas Hickey and Lubomir Visnovsky some love.
- And here's Staple's piece on Kyle Okposo's second-half rebound.
- Nice feature at the Score on how the Isles were built, from mostly spare parts.
- IPB on the same topic: How did this happen?
- Apparently Kyle Okposo hurt Zach Bogosan.
- Speaking of which, Radek Martinek on his concussion battle: "I woke up in the hospital."
- Spano coverage: LHH review | Newsday | Daily News | WSJ
- We gripe about the shootout and its affect on the standings, but as we've seen a three-point system wouldn't necessarily change things. (Includes quotes from Mark Streit)
Duncan Keith and "the first female referee." Oh dear.
- For the Smurfs, the Ryan Clowe question isn't just about Ryan Clowe.
- Another step for NBC's hockey coverage.
- It's the all-jerk team.
- Pronger still hopes to come back ... or needs to stay on LTIR.
- The annual AHL dominoes stall in Abbostford ... for now.
- Oh, and Son of Matteau apparently quite his junior team.
Highlights from the Sound Tigers' final game, a 4-1 win over Portland, includes a goal by Kirill Kabanov, another by Brock Nelson, and Andrei Pedan's first pro fight:
Finally, if you need any further pumping up, here's a compilation of all the Isles goals during this streak via Kevin at Islanders Point Blank:
Cool to have a mix of Howie and Jiggs there.
Also, here's a full-season highlight mix [video] by rck88. Let him know what you think.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight in this thread.