My Islanders Account

NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Final Stretch

The Islanders hit the road for five games with a chance to return to postseason play

Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 7:00 PM ET / News
By Travis Betts
X
Share with your Friends


Final Stretch
The Islanders lit the lamp seven times the last time they visited Toronto, in a 7-4 win on January 24 (Photo: Getty Images).

After ending the home schedule on a high note Tuesday with a 5-2 win against Florida, the Islanders are back to the grind of the road. The team boarded a plane to Toronto Wednesday to kick off an eight-day road trip to conclude the season.

With only five games remaining, the Islanders have 49 points – one less than sixth-place Ottawa, and three more than the eighth-place New York Rangers and ninth-place Winnipeg. Of the teams on the outside of the playoff bubble, the Jets are – mathematically speaking – the most dangerous to the Islanders postseason hopes. The two teams will play Saturday night in Manitoba in the second game of the trip, for a potential four-point swing that could either give the Islanders real breathing room or completely tighten the screws on an already crowded playoff race.

But Matt Martin says the team can’t look too far ahead. Echoing the sentiment heard around the room over the last several weeks, he says Thursday’s showdown with the Maple Leafs is the most important game of the season.

“Right now, we’re just focusing on the game against Toronto,” Martin said. “We’ll take this one game at a time. There are a lot of big games coming up. These last five games on the road are obviously huge.”

While a lot of eyes are on the Rangers and Jets – teams who can conceivably catch and surpass the Islanders in the standings – Martin says the focus within the room is on the teams they are still looking up at. The Islanders are 9-1-2 in their last 12 games and are within four points of the fifth-place Maple Leafs.

“If we keep winning hockey games, we’re going to be able to catch teams,” Martin said. “We have a real opportunity to catch Toronto and Ottawa in the standings. We don’t want to focus on teams behind us. If we do what we need to do, they won’t be able to catch us.”

After Toronto and Winnipeg, the Islanders head back to the States for three games against teams that are currently on the outside looking in – Carolina (April 23), Philadelphia (April 25) and Buffalo (April 26). Head Coach Jack Capuano says the hostile road crowds in all five markets should make each game a battle.

“We know that every period, every shift is going to be harder than the last,” Capuano said. “We can’t get away from what we do and how we play. We know how these teams are going to play. We know the buildings are going to be packed. There’s great atmospheres in these buildings, but we’ve just got to concentrate on what we have to do.”

The Islanders are the only team in the league to finish on such an extended road trip, something that on paper could present a real test. But the club is 12-5-2 away from Nassau Coliseum this season, and 6-0-2 overall during the month of April.

Add Josh Bailey to the list of Islanders happy to be playing meaningful hockey this late in the spring. The fifth-year pro has 324 games of NHL experience, but none in the postseason. Bailey sees a confident group heading into the final stretch.

“You can’t control the scheduling and that’s just the way it worked out,” Bailey said of the five-game trip. “I think we’re comfortable on the road and we’ve played well away from home thus far. We’re going to need to keep doing that to make sure we find our way into the playoffs.”

The Islanders entered March with 21 games under their belt and in 13th place, one point above the Eastern Conferenc e cellar. Twenty-two games later, they control their own destiny in seventh place, closer to the top than to the bottom of the standings. And a lot closer to their first postseason berth in six years.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 53 28 19 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 49 15 26 -7 41
J. Tavares 48 19 21 -4 40
F. Nielsen 51 15 18 0 33
B. Nelson 51 20 11 1 31
M. Grabovski 51 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 50 9 15 5 24
N. Leddy 51 3 20 -8 23
A. Lee 51 7 15 1 22
R. Strome 40 5 14 -6 19
C. Clutterbuck 50 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
Transportation
Pro Shops
Islanders TV
Iceworks
NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use