Granted every game in the NHL can turn up heads or tails, but if you're doing some schedule sketching for the final nine games -- and judging by recent comments, many of you are -- then you've already told yourself this is a huge week.
With 42 points, the Islanders could go 5-4 in their last nine and possibly make the playoffs, while 6-3 would look very promising. But whether you're affording them four or three or maybe just two losses in the calculator in your head, the toughest remaining candidates may be Philadelphia tonight (psychologically at least), Boston Thursday (because they're good) and the Rangers Saturday (because it's the rivalry game...and the Rangers should be good).
Links and notes from the playoff race:
- Newsday with Evgeni Nabokov on enjoying his role and this playoff chase.
- From the official site, a look at the remaining prospects still playing in juniors. Go, Mitchell Theoret.
- Also: They talk Kyle Okposo's offense, and sage Frans Nielsen says all starts from good defense
Mikko Koskinen has re-upped for another two years with Espoo.
- Down Goes Brown takes a less satirical look at the playoff bubble.
- Who's "lucky?" Who's not? The Isles save percentage keeps them down in the unlucky section.
- Flyers fans try to make sense of why Steve Mason why.
- But at least Carol Alt has signed with Philly. Wait. Wrong Alt.
- In the biggest standings-watching game last night, the Rangers lost to the Leafs in regulation, in crushing fashion, after a third-period comeback was erased in 38 seconds.
- I've thought this for a while, but I'm pretty confident the Western Conference playoff contestants are already set: No one is falling out of that top eight.
- The East is obviously a little tighter -- or at least it makes us much more nervous -- but there are some interesting declines their, not the least of which is the Cam Ward-less Hurricanes' and their 1-11-1 tailspin. They lost again last night.
- Not at all playoff-related, but wow: After another loss last night, to the Flames, the Avs have only 12 wins on the year.
- And he's had a good year, but really? Bobrovsky is a "front-runner" for the Vezina?
- In the story that will never die -- not even The Undertaker can kill it -- The Coyotes are getting close to a sale. Or maybe they're not.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks in this thread. The standings are still changing down the stretch, including a wife pulling ahead of her lesser half.