The New York Islanders kick of their final stretch of games for the 2013 season against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. The Isles play their last 5 games of the lockout-shortened season away from Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders head in to Toronto 1-0-1 against the Maple Leafs this season. After a huge 7-4 win over the Leafs back in January, the Isles lost 5-4 in overtime against Toronto in February, where Nazeem Kadri tallied his first NHL hat-trick for the Leafs.
In the finale of this recent homestand, the Islanders look to salvage two points after going 0-3 so far. Their futility at home has been consistently troubling and their 5-11-2 record leaves fans scratching their head.
If they are to miss the playoffs in the shortened 2013 season, they can look to their play at home as the reason why. They have collected only 12 of a possibly 36 points at the Nassau Coliseum all season.
Despite all of this, the Islanders remain only 3 points out of a playoff spot. In order to make any sort of legimiate run towards the postseason, the Islanders have to fatten up their record against teams like the bottom dwelling Panthers.
The Islanders will kick off 4-game home stand tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators for the third and final time this season. After a difficult 3-1 loss to the Sens back in February, the Isles took the most recent matchup with a pair of stellar shootout goals by the likes of Frans Nielsen and John Tavares.
So far this month, the Isles are 5-1-1, which has currently placed them 3 points out of the 8th and last playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have also improved on their dreadful home record, going 3-0-2 in their last 5 games at the Nassau Coliseum.
After three games the Tampa Bay Lightning are 2-1 with four points and are first in the Southeast division. While it is all but impossible to glean much information from such a small sample of games, the Bolts are buying into Coach Guy Boucher’s platform and are showing signs of improvement on defense and in the net. "It’s going to be defense first. That’s our mindset, because we’ve got the offense," said Boucher. (Photo/Susan Ferlita)
Tampa Bay opened the season at home on Saturday night with a well earned 6-3 victory over division rival Washington. Martin St. Louis and Eric Brewer each scored two goa...
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.