Islanders’ matchup with Lightning has massive playoff implications

Given that the Islanders have won consecutive games just one time since December, it is sort of astonishing that they are a win on Saturday away from being in position to be in playoff position. 

But even as the Capitals and Devils have tied the Isles for fourth place in the Metropolitan, a five-point deficit to the Lightning with two games in hand means that a win over Tampa on Saturday at UBS would carry massive implications for the home team’s playoff viability. 

Of course, actually leaping the Lightning in the standings would require winning not just Saturday but the two games the Islanders have in hand — which is much easier said than done.

But that does not diminish the importance of beating Tampa for the second time in just more than two weeks. 

Captain Anders Lee says the Isles “have it,” they just need to capitalize on opportunities. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

“The hope and belief’s in this room, we have it,” captain Anders Lee said after Thursday night’s 4-0 loss to the Blues. “We’re just not getting the results right now. We’re kicking ourselves in the foot a little bit and that’s why we’re not getting the wins that we need. 

“We continue on the path we’ve been working on, continue on the effort and the diligence and playing the game the right way and start weaning out some of these mistakes that are really hurting us, we’re gonna put a run together.” 

Again, much easier said than done, as the Islanders have proven time and again this season.

But certainly not outside the realm of possibility for a group that added another game to its ledger of mystifying losses on Thursday by allowing a franchise-record three goals in 32 seconds. 

“We need to be even keel,” coach Patrick Roy said. “Unfortunately, a team that plays in the playoffs, you can lose a big game in the playoffs in overtime, Game 5, and you have to get ready for Game 6.” So that’s the same thing.” 

“We need to be ready for our next game and the urgency to win is there because that’s an important game against Tampa Bay.” 

The Islanders sent Hudson Fasching and Samuel Bolduc to AHL Bridgeport for conditioning stints.

Hudson Fasching #20 of New York Islanders attempting a shot during 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series on ice.
Hudson Fasching is heading back to Bridgeport. NHLI via Getty Images

Because Fasching is on long-term injury reserve, he does not have to pass through waivers.

Bolduc, who has been a healthy scratch for seven straight games, had to agree to be sent down on a conditioning loan in order to avoid waivers.

Source link