Apr 11, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT
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.”
- Devils’ Gomez considered retirement 4
- It’s New Jersey Devils day on PHT 11
- Fanspeak: Bobby Orr named best Bruin in franchise history 25
- Video: Bruins participate in commercials to promote NHL 15 6
- Oilers ink Schultz to one-year deal 2
- It’s Boston Bruins day on PHT 41
- Fanspeak: Dominik Hasek voted greatest Sabre in franchise history 35
- Is Colorado’s rise a fair example of what might happen in Buffalo? 7
- It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT 19
- Gomez goes full circle by rejoining Devils on tryout basis 13