(3:30 p.m. ET, TV: MSG | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The Islanders are right where they want to be - in New Jersey at the Continental Airlines Arena on the last day of the regular season with a chance to go to the 2007 postseason.
On the final day of the regular season it doesn't get any simpler. Win and it's playoff time; lose and it's golf season. The Islanders are one win away from earning the most improbable late-season playoff berth in recent memory.
A week ago, following their 5-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday, it appeared the Islanders were in essence eliminated. Six games had to go their way in order to make the playoffs - two of which were out of their control.
With wins by Toronto and Montreal on Tuesday, the Islanders had to win against the Rangers that same night. They did, winning in stunning fashion in the shootout.
On Thursday, the Islanders had to defeat Toronto to keep their playoff hopes alive and the Rangers, who hadn't clinched by then, needed to take care of business against Montreal. Done and Done.
That meant three steps down with three to go. On Saturday, the Islanders had to come away with a victory against the basement Philadelphia Flyers. They did just that with a 4-2 victory, which was a little too close for comfort.
Wade Dubielewicz stopped 28 shots and four Islanders scored, with three goals coming on the power play. It was 3-1 for the entire third period until a late shorthanded goal by Mike Richards got Islander Country a little nervous. No worries, Tom Poti alleviated those fears with an empty-netter.
The most nerve-racking step was the fifth - the Toronto/Montreal game on Saturday. In one of the most exciting games of the season, the teams traded two-goal leads before Toronto ultimately won 6-5, setting up the final stage for the Islanders' right to make the playoffs.
In order to reach the postseason, the Islanders will have to defeat this Devils team, which they haven't beaten since their first meeting of the season.
The game means absolutely nothing for New Jersey, but expect a Devils team, that is now run by their general manager, Lou Lamoriello, to come out as hard as if they were fighting for their playoff lives. Former head coach Claude Julien was fired just days before the regular season came to a close in a surprise twist to the end of the Devils' season.
While there has been no official word, we anticipate Martin Brodeur starting and Brian Gionta to return from a foot injury that forced him to sit out the Devils' most recent game, a 3-2 win over the Flyers on Thursday.
New Jersey has won four games in a row and clinched the Atlantic Division title for the second straight year since the strike. As the second seed in the Eastern Conference, they will take on No. 7 Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs.
Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen today on MSG.
BELOW ARE CHANNEL LISTINGS FOR MSG ON LONG ISLAND
Islanders - 90 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
New Jersey - 106 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division
Islanders - Jason Blake, 40 goals, 69 points; Tom Poti, 38 assists; Brendan Witt, 117 PIM
New Jersey - Zach Parise, 31 goals; Scott Gomez, Patrik Elias & Brian Rafalski, 47 assists; Elias, 68 points; Cam Janssen, 114 PIM
Islanders - Power play: 18.3 percent. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent
New Jersey - Power play: 17.9 percent. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent
Islanders - Wade Dubielewicz (3-1-0, 2.10 GAA, .937 SV%); Mike Dunham (4-10-3, 3.74, .889)
New Jersey - Martin Brodeur (48-23-7, 2.18, .922); Scott Clemmensen (1-1-1, 3.47, .880)
2006-07 SEASON SERIES:
Islanders - 3 pts; New Jersey - 12 pts
March 27, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum: New Jersey, 3-2 win
New Jersey - 25-10-5 at home
Islanders - 17-17-6 on the road.
1 Mike Dunham
34 Wade Dubielewicz
3 Tom Poti
6 Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli
21 Deron Quint
32 Brendan Witt
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
15 Jeff Tambellini
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
94 Ryan Smyth
30 Martin Brodeur
40 Scott Clemmensen
5 Colin White
6 Andy Greene
7 Paul Martin
21 Brad Lukowich
28 Brian Rafalski
29 Johnny Oduya
9 Zach Parise
10 Erik Rasmussen
11 John Madden
12 Jim Dowd
14 Brian Gionta
15 Jamie Langenbrunner
16 Tuomas Pihlman
17 Michael Rupp
18 Sergei Brylin
19 Travis Zajac
20 Jay Pandolfo
23 Scott Gomez
25 Cam Janssen
26 Patrik Elias