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Isles closing on first playoff berth since 2007

Apr 11, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT

Isles win Getty Images

The last time the New York Islanders made the playoffs, Jason Blake led the team in scoring, Rick DiPietro was in the first year of his 15-year contract, and John Tavares was still two years from being drafted.

That was the 2006-07 season.

The Isles would lose their first-round series to Buffalo in five games.

Five straight failures to qualify for the postseason would follow.

But that drought could end soon. With eight games left on their 2013 schedule, the Isles sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of the ninth-place Jets.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Isles have a 77.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.

“It’s a great feeling right now,” said Tavares after Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers, the Isles’ seventh victory in their last nine. “We know we can play with any team in the league.”

New York’s remaining schedule does, however, offer one reason for fans to be nervous. Of the team’s last eight games, six are on the road.


Granted, the Isles have been very good (11-5-2) away from Nassau Coliseum, and their last four road games are against teams currently outside the top eight in the East — but when you’ve missed the playoffs five straight seasons, you get used to things going wrong.

“We’re focusing on one game at a time knowing that we control all of our cards in our hands,” forward Michael Grabner said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

  1. bcisleman - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    The key to the Islanders’ success, apart from better play of Nabby and the development of an effective two way shutdown line of Ox, Frans and Bails, is that they have stopped getting used to things going wrong. They go into each game with the old Fort Never Lose mentality…how are we going to win this game, not how are we going to lose it. It doesn’t hurt that the teams outside the money right now don’t seem to have a pulse.

  2. gettingpwned - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    the plus side of the remaining schedule? they’ve been better on the road this year. and none of those teams outside of boston and maybe the rangers scare the fans.

  3. islesjb - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Win over Bruins tonight would be huge for not only their playoff hopes but also for their confidence. Doesn’t hurt that the Bruins are still playing without Bergeron and now maybe Marchand.

  4. malkinrulez - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Glad to see the Isles fighting for playoffs. Team has been pretty consistent.

  5. hockeyfan763 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Now cue the fair weather Islander fans to come out of the wood work. No disrespect to the 20 actual fans who have been there all along. Ironic timing that they will be coming back the same time as the cicada’s.

    • gettingpwned - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      we’ve been here all along. the problem is there wasnt a lot to cheer for and it’s tough to talk crap when you’ve got a losing record.

    • islesjb - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      That’s just a dumb statement.

      I’ve been suffering with this team for a long time but I wouldn’t blame any Islander fan who lost the faith and decided to come back now that the team is turning things around. After seeing Mike Milbury completely strip down the team and trade away all of their most valuable players, it’s hard to continue to watch such a train wreck.

      Bottom line- losing sucks. Losing consistently year after year is almost unbearable.

      Kudos to Garth Snow for being patient with the rebuild while finding some gems via the waiver-wire along the way.

      • barkar942 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        Especially tough for Snow since the Isles would obtain players and then they didn’t want to play there. Now look at Nabokov and Visnovsky. Once they got there and see how good their kids are, they do an about face!
        Glad to see them playing well. I remember when they were unbeatable!

  6. jdrew506 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Hockeyfan- you are correct saying that there are fair weather fans for any and every team in sports. However what you failed to mention was the complete disrespect that the previous ownership groups of the islanders gave to their fan base, so yes a lot o them stopped showing up. Now that Wang has shown respect for the team and fans again they are starting to show back up.

    • gettingpwned - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      respect? they make a mockery of the salary cap year in and year out. and there was rumor a few months ago that he was trying to sell the team.

      • islesjb - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        If something lost you $20,000,000 every year you may entertain the thought of selling it to. Wang is by no means the perfect owner but I do respect him for keeping his promise to Islander fans.

        He promised that he would fight to keep the team in New York and he did just that. 9 out of 10 owners would have moved this team to Quebec City, Seattle or Kansas City years ago. Now, with the fans coming back and the approaching move to Brooklyn, hopefully he will start to open up his wallet again.

  7. islanders1 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Better goaltending and Moulson Tavares having great seasons plus an improved supporting cast. I say they make it to the playoffs!

  8. jr507 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Spare us the fairweather BS. this team’s fanbase has been crapped on by past ownership, by the local government, and has endured years of losing and are still here. As a Mets/Jets/Isles fan, the posters on Isles articles are loyal and knowledgeable and thankfully far more adult than the PFT trolls (only the Pens fans seem to pull the same nonsense here).

    Anyone who thinks loyal NYI fans who have quietly sat and waited (prayed?) for Snow’s kids to grow into a playoff team are new to the party is a buffoon. Worry about your own squads while we enjoy ours…..finally.

  9. cameltoews - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Like I have said before NY is better when the rangers and islanders are relevant. Saturday is going to be one hell of a game!

  10. jdrew506 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Wang has shown the fans and team respect by not packing them up and moving them to another state. He did everything he could to keep them on the Island and when that didn’t work he decided to move them to Brooklyn. He also does not force Garth Snow to sell off all the good young talent that they are starting to amass. Need I remind you of the Chara’s and Ziggy’s all the other owners shipped out of town. As for the salary cap issues its hard to spend money when top free agents or any free agents, for that matter, would not come to them.

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