What the Islanders are up against in a four-team playoff-spot dogfight


BUFFALO — It is distinctly possible the most important development to happen for the Islanders on the banks of Lake Erie this week happened before they stepped onto the ice at KeyBank Arena.

That was a 7-2 Sabres victory over the Red Wings here on Tuesday night, the sixth straight loss for Detroit, which handed the second wild-card spot back over to the Islanders for the time being.

As much as the Islanders have helped themselves over the past couple weeks, they also have received significant help — most notably from the Red Wings, who appear to be in a mode of utter self-combustion, but also from the Lightning and the Flyers.

The pair of playoff races the Islanders find themselves in, against the Flyers for third in the Metropolitan and against Detroit and Tampa for both wild-card spots, mean there is a heavy amount of scoreboard-watching going on each night.


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