The playoff-bound Nashville Predators can pretty much finish off the New York Islanders season tonight, completing a job those Tennessee bastards began in earnest just over a week ago.
See, with the Islanders neck-and-neck with the Bruins in the chase for the West’s final playoff spot, our hated/beloved Isles lost a nailbiter at home to the Bruins, 2-1.
That gave the Bruins life on a Saturday night after a four-game losing streak.
Then the Predators stepped to the plate. On that Monday, Nashville visited Barclays Center and dusted off the Isles, 3-1. More life for the Bruins.
The next night, the Predators visited Boston and rolled over for them, giving the Bruins two more crucial points while Nashville proceeded to lose three of four.
The Bruins essentially haven’t stopped winning since then, the Isles have done just so-so — a blowout rollover to the Flyers followed by close wins over also-rans New Jersey and Buffalo — to bring us to Tuesday night in Nashville.
If the Isles win tonight, they at least can’t be eliminated yet. But if the Senators and Bruins each win or get a regulation point while the Isles do less than that, it’s over.
However, if you’re still keeping track — welcome, thanks for reading, Wade Dubielewicz — the Isles are six points back of the Bruins, who hold the ROW tiebreaker for the second wild card spot.
Shane Prince, who’s had a helluva year with rotating injuries, is out again. With the Islanders already down to the “call up Connor Jones” level of forward depth depletion — and with Bridgeport getting a crucial win this morning in their own playoff chase — the Isles will reportedly dress all seven healthy defensemen.
That’s life without the injured John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas, Nikolay Kulemin, Travis Hamonic and Prince.
Jaroslav Halak starts in goal.
The Predators have clinched a playoff spot but still have something to play for, kind of, as they can still jump out of the wild card and get a Central Division matchup with the Minnesota Wild — probably preferable to playing the Blackhawks, and maybe also to drawing the cross-over wild card spot and having to play a West Coast team in the first round.
The funeral starts at 8 p.m. EDT on MSG+2, with radio on AM970 - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU and 103.9FM - LI News.
Follow the Preds coverage at On The Forecheck.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks — the competition is almost over! — here by game time.