Written By: Alex Lowenthal

If the Islanders want to play more than 82 hockey games this year, it’s going to be a tough battle for the remaining twenty.  The Islanders currently have 58 points, putting them tied for 12th place with the Florida Panthers, and 6 points out of the coveted 8th playoff spot, held by the Montreal Canadians with 64.

The Islanders have 20 games remaining to be played between now and April 11.  These 20 games are anything but easy.  18 of these games are against teams with winning records.  Only 1 of their remaining opponents has less points then they do themselves.  8 of the games are against their division rivals who all are ahead of the Isles in the standings (Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Flyers).  5 opponents are in first place in their respective divisions (Blackhawks, Devils (twice), Canucks, Senators).

I think you get the point.  The task at hand, making the playoffs, looks near impossible.  However, if we’ve learned anything during the Olympics, its that any team can win a hockey game on any given night.  Also, only 9 points separate the 6th place team from the 13th team in the East.  Basically this means that if a team gets hot (Islanders hopefully), they can definitely make it.  7 of their remaining games are against teams in these 6th-13th place spots.  We call these 4 point games.  A win for one team and loss for the other equates to a 4 point swing.

I predict that the Islanders will need at least 90 points to make the playoffs.  That’s 32 points out of a possible 40 in their last 20 games, 19 against teams with better records than them.  They need 14 wins, and a few overtime losses as well.  Its a tall, unlikely task, but its possible.  If there’s a time to get hot, it’s now Isles.

Photo Credit: pictures.zimbio.com