The final away game of the regular season is here. We now know that the Islanders will be in the playoffs thanks to Brad Boyes and the relevancy of this game kind of fell a bit. Home ice and playoff positioning is still on the line though and the Islanders have a chance to cement their position above the Penguins in the standings so maybe it means more than we all think.
The Islanders can obtain second place in the division if they beat the Penguins tonight and the Blue Jackets tomorrow and the Capitals lose in regulation to the Rangers tomorrow. Whether the Islanders win in regulation or the shootout is irrelevant as the Capitals will have the tiebreaker with wins in regulation and overtime and the season series.
There's still a slim chance that the Penguins could miss the playoffs. With a win by the Bruins at the Lightning and losses in regulation by the Penguins to the Islanders and the Sabres, the Penguins would be out. If the Penguins get one point out of either contest, the Bruins would need to win in regulation or overtime tomorrow (Boston holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh and this would make them tied in wins in regulation and overtime) and the Senators would need to pick up at least one point against the Flyers in Philadelphia to give them more points than the Penguins. Two points in two games for the Penguins and they're in the playoffs.
Obviously playing a hand in knocking out one of their biggest opponents over the past few years would be fantastic for the Islanders and they'll be hoping for that miracle to occur. Expect a tough game by both teams as they finish out the stretch. Cal Clutterbuck returns to the lineup tonight in place of Colin McDonald. He'll take Tyler Kennedy's spot on the third line while Kennedy moves down to the fourth line. Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin are still out with injuries. Jaroslav Halak is in net and the defensive pairings will remain the same.
Let's go Islanders!