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Believe it: Islanders beat the Bruins, inch closer to playoff berth

Apr 12, 2013, 12:03 AM EDT

Islanders Getty Images

Only seven games remain in the regular season for the New York Islanders. Over the past few years, this would’ve meant playing out the schedule, prepping for a top pick in the draft and dusting off the golf clubs.

That’s not the case in 2013. The Islanders, playing on the road, held on for a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

The Islanders, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, remain seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, still two points ahead of the New York Rangers. The Islanders are currently riding a three-game winning streak and have an 8-1-1 record over their last 10 games.

Only the Washington Capitals are hotter right now in the East.

“They’re believing in one another, they’re believing in the system, and they’re playing hard,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told

“At this time of year, I think teams that work extremely hard and win their battles – elevate their battle level and win their battles – have a good chance to win the game, and that’s what we’re doing.”

But can the Islanders keep this up?

There are two things to consider:

1) Five of the Islanders’ remaining seven games are on the road, beginning next Thursday in Toronto, then west to Winnipeg, south to Carolina, and then back up north to Philadelphia and Buffalo. They’ll play five games over an eight-day stretch.

2) Of their next seven games, only two of those are against teams currently in a playoff position.


  1. canucks30 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    If the Islanders surround Tavares with enough talent – watch out. He’s as good as anybody in the league right now.

    • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      That time is here. Isles’ surge has less to do with JT then it has to do with their emerging shutdown line (Nielsen–Okposo–Bailey), improved goaltending of Nabby and overall refuse to lose attitude.

      Over that time, Josh Bailey has scored as many goals (6) as JT has and half of JT’s goals were ENGs while none of Bails’ were. Individual brilliance doesn’t produce the kind of sustained success the Isles have had ESPECIALLY at this time of year. Isles are winning by coming together as a team.

      • canucks30 - Apr 12, 2013 at 4:53 AM

        But can they do it in the playoffs?

        The Islanders haven’t won a playoff wound since 1993.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        I don’t disagree, but over WHAT time does Bailey have as many goals as JT?

      • jpelle82 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        tavares only has 2 eng’s all season

      • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        No reason why they cannot. Their likely opponents in the first round would be either the Habs or the Caps–teams they have done well against this year BEFORE the surge. Interestingly enough, if they get the 6th seed, they might face the Caps in the first round, the Pens in the second and, if they won, the Habs in the third—which would duplicate their path in 1993. I’d look on it much as a Nucks fan should look on that team’s chances to win the Cup. The fact that they have never done it doesn’t mean they won’t.

      • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Over the surge period from 3/24 to present and I am wrong. He has 5 goals over that period to JT’s 6…although 2 of JT’s were ENGs and none of Josh’s were.

      • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        jpelle82: He has had two since 3/24. I misread that. Hard to believe those were his only 2 all season.

  2. jdrew506 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    The Islanders are a team on a mission and all other teams better take notice. As stated they are one of the hottest teams on the ice right now and are making a push to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They have a great mix of young talent, lead by JT, Bailey, Oposkso, Cizikas and Grabner, and veterans with Strait and Visnosky, plus a goalie, Nabokov who is getting hot at the right moment. The game coming up against the Rangers should be a throwback to the days where this rivalry matched any in sports. It will be exciting to see where this team ends up, but no one can deny that they are once again relevant in the NHL.

  3. rsl22 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    As a Caps fan, I hope we don’t play Isles in playoffs. Tavares is legit, and Nabokov can win games. Dangerous combo for any team to face.

    • stakex - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:01 AM

      They are a dangerous combo (though Nabokov can also lose games at times), but the problem the Islanders still have is a lack of serious and developed depth. Not to mention playoff experience for their young players is non-existent. They will be dangerous in the playoffs in the years to come, but probably not this year.

      Id fear Ottawa and the Rangers more if I was a Caps fan. Despite neither team being all that good right now, they are both built to be tough playoff teams. Anderson and Lundqvist are both far more consistent then Nabokov (and Nabokov’s playoff record is iffy at best), and both teams have much better defenses then the Islanders.

      • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:23 AM

        You obviously haven’t been watching the Islanders much lately. They are quite simply a better team right now than either the Rangers or Ottawa which cannot get out of its own way. In fact, the Islander depth is what has been winning for them.

      • gettingpwned - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:24 AM

        oh PLEASE! what have the rangers done in the playoffs? what has ottawa? the rangers and torts forget how to play offense in the playoffs. and if anything, being a young team can be a positive because they dont know enough to be nervous. tavares is a BEAST and he’s only 22. he’s going to be scary good. and have you seen the isles GAA lately?

        as far as developed depth, they’ve got 2 consistent lines going right now and the gremlin on the third is always a threat. and that checking line is AWESOME! zeeker and matty marts are the ISH!

  4. stakex - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    The Islanders are red hot right now, theres no doubt about it.

    Thing is though, is this the real deal… or just a hot 10 game stretch for a so-so team? Thats a legit question when you consider the Islanders are 8-1-1 in the last ten games, but only have a slim two point hold on their playoff spot. That tells you how hot they have been, but also that they were not a playoff bound team before this very hot run. So which team is the “real” one… the team that played the first 30 games of the season 13-15-3, or the one thats played the last ten 8-1-1? Personaly I think the Islanders are just flying high right now, and playing over their heads. They might make the playoffs, but I still think this team is a year or two away from doing serious damage.

    Either way, I look forward to seeing a Rangers/Islanders game that actually means something again…

    • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:28 AM

      The Isles are simply gelling at the right time. I am guessing from your comments that you are a Ranger fan. I guess it must really bug you to see the Isles playing better than your team this time of year. The Isles are a year or two away from having their best talent on the ice, but they are ready to do serious damage right now.

    • georgejarkko - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      I think “a hot 10 game stretch” – or roughly 20% of the season qualifies as “the real deal.”

  5. jdrew506 - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Stakex you may be correct in your assessment of the team and most Islander fans also believe this team is a year or two away from really doing some real damage. However just last year ago the kings slide into the playoffs as the 8 seed on the last day of the regular season and look what happened to them. As I have said many times, I am not saying they are going to go far but as we all know anything can happen in the playoffs especially when you have a hot goalie.

    • stakex - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:17 AM

      Oh I am a firm believer that once a team makes the playoffs, all bets are off. So if the Islanders do in fact make the playoffs, they certainly have a chance to go all the way.

      Though I would say there were some serious differences between the Kings last year, and the Islanders this year. The Kings were an under performing team all season and it would have been a shock for them to miss the playoffs… as where the Islanders are over perfomring right now and most people will be suprised to see them in the playoffs.

      • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        Actually the Isles have been underperforming for the past two seasons and many wanted Cappy’s head for it. They are finally playing up to their potential.

  6. sdelmonte - Apr 12, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    If only the local media seemed to know this team existed. Or, for that matter, that hockey existed.

  7. tfaltin - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    It’s been a long time coming, but they’re a talented team who looks like they want it more than their opponents most nights. Good for coach Capuano, he took plenty of flack over the past couple years and the players have responded by buying into the system and giving great effort.

  8. hockeyfan763 - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    My apologies to the Islander fans for saying the fair weather fans would now come out…It seems only the doubters have come out. The same Isles fans are posting here all the time, nobody new.I am looking forward to tomorrows game v.s. the Rangers. I am old enough to remember when these games actually mattered and have been watching the Isles improve all year. I know it will be a playoff atmoshere for sure. But if the fair weather fans don’t show up soon I say you lock the band wagon and don’t let them on……Good luck saturday.

  9. biffnasty - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    the Rangers will crush the isles momentum on Saturday night..the isles will be lucky to even make the 8th seed

    • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      The Rangers will get crushed Saturday night. HL will be lucky to survive the first period. And the Rangers will fall 4 points back of the Isles and be lucky not to be knocked out of the playoffs by the Jets.

      • biffnasty - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM little islander fans make me laugh. They win a couple of games, are bately holding onto a playoff spot and the few islander fans brave enough to post on PHT are speaking as if their team has been a dominant force all year. I guess being relevant in the hockey world for the first time in the last 30 years will do that to a fan base

      • islesjb - Apr 12, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        Since when does posting on an internet comment board require bravery?

        Maybe BC’s comment is a little over the top but the Islanders are certainly playing like the better team when right now. I’ll be at the game on Saturday and think it will be a close one but I also think that everyone, including the Rags, have taken notice of what’s been happening on Long Island.

  10. dropthepuckeh - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I’m happy for you Isles fans and hope the team makes the playoffs but don’t get ahead of yourselves. The team is young and hungry and but they haven’t won anything yet. They aren’t even guaranteed to make the playoffs in a sport where half of the teams make the playoffs. I realize NYI fans haven’t had much to celebrate for many years but slow down the rhetoric. Act like you’ve been there before even if only watching old video.

    • islesjb - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      I don’t hear any rhetoric or really any Isles fans saying that we’re the best in the league destined to win a cup. The average Isles fan knows that nothing is guaranteed and that a late season collapse is still very possible.

      Act like you’ve been there before? Really guy? Isles fans are just pleased with how this season is turning out after many years of meaningless April hockey.

  11. giantssb42champs - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I am happy for long suffering isles fans. Perhaps the team can finally put the dark Milbury years behind them. I doubt they will win much more than one game in the playoffs, but it’s something to build on.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      so much damage done…glad to see them rising from the ashes finally. the dipietro distraction seemingly buried at this point only helps too.

    • bcisleman - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      No reason why they can’t at least win the first round esp if their opposition is the Caps or the Habs against whom they played well this season.

  12. jr507 - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    BC – from your lips to God’s ears my man. the old barn will be rocking so to take the full two while giving up none would be amazing. give the boys some more juice for the road trip ahead. Thank God that Hammer is ok btw – hoping to see him outmuscle Nash tomorrow

    • islesjb - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Yeah that was ugly. I was thinking he either sprained his ankle or tore something in his knee. The way he fell looked very unnatural. Losing Hamonic would have been a huge blow to this playoff run.

  13. rogersjd16 - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Believe it: The Bruins are going NOWHERE unless they figure out (or remember) how the frick to play in and move out of their own zone. They are embarrassingly slow and sloppy right now. Their giveaways are astonishing.

    Bergie, please come back (safely and healthy). I beg.

  14. jr507 - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Not exactly Biff. It’s called diehards being excited that their franchise is locking up its homegrown, young talent. After losing players like Bertuzzi, Brewer, Luongo, etc, why shouldn’t there be buzz.

    No one is saying the isles are dominant, but with their best players locked up and talents like Nelson, Stroke, Neiderreiter, de Haan, and Mayfield prepped to join Lee as the next class, the future is extremely bright. I doubt most GMs would argue.

  15. jdrew506 - Apr 12, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    What makes me laugh are Ranger fans who think they are the best team in the world. They won the cup in ’94 and haven’t won it since then and before that they didn’t win one since 1940( used to love that chant by the way). Yet the Islanders won 4 in a row, so tell me why the Ranger fans think they are so much better. In fact I believe that the Rangers were supposed to be the Cup favorites this year yet they sit 2 points BEHIND the lowly Islanders don’t they Biff. Must be real hard on you right now.

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