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Isles-Pens first-round matchup could be set tonight

Apr 26, 2013, 5:54 PM EDT

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While most are looking at “Super Saturday” to sort out the playoff picture, one matchup could be decided on Friday night.

The New York Islanders, currently sitting eighth in the East with 54 points, will play their regular-season finale against the Sabres in Buffalo.

Should the Sabres win in regulation, the Isles would be locked into eighth — and locked into an opening-round date with the Pittsburgh Penguins as well.

If the Islanders do manage to get points from tonight’s game, they could finish as high as sixth in the East.

But for that to happen, they’ll have to wait until the aforementioned Super Saturday — when 13 games will be played — to see what their future has in store.

Here’s more, from NHL.com:

The Senators, who are already in sixth place, have a game-in-hand over both the Islanders and Rangers because in addition to hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, they play at the Boston Bruins on Sunday to make up the game that was postponed because of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Senators can finish as high as fifth, but they’d have to win their last two games and the Toronto Maple Leafs would have to lose in regulation to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The Rangers will clinch at least the No. 7 seed with a win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

They also still have a chance at the No. 6 seed and a first-round series against the Washington Capitals.

So, plenty to be decided.

One would think the Isles will do all they can to avoid the Penguins in the opening round. New York won the first meeting of the season, 4-1, then proceeded to lose the next four by a combined 16-5 score.

  1. bcisleman - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    It isn’t so much who their first round opponent will be for the #Isles. Last night was a stinker. The only saving grace was that Kevin Poulin finally rewarded Garth Snow’s confidence in him shown by not trading for a vet G backup. If he hadn’t stood on his head a few times, the #Isles might have lost by two or three goals. They have to come out with some fire tonight…something they really haven’t shown much of for the past week or more. They were just lucky until last night. Maybe last night will give them some fire and an edge. If they get that back, it doesn’t matter to me who they play.

  2. canucks30 - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    NY Islanders haven’t won a playoff series since:

    This may add some intrigue too:

  3. hockeyfan1701 - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    That 93 playoff loss is a wound that will not heal….

  4. stakex - Apr 26, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    The Islanders did well to make the playoffs, and in a couple season might be a team to be feared. However, right now I don’t think they have the complete game to knock off any of the top three teams in the East (unless one of them ends up being Montreal)… so it doesn’t really matter where they finish.

    And before anyone says “But the Kings came from 8th last year to win!”, keep in mind that the Kings were a really good team that simply under performed all season last year. The Islanders are a still building team that has over achieved this year. Huge difference.

    • dmfc1112 - Apr 26, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      How about when someone says “but the Penguins were favored to win last year”??? ANYthing can happen in the playoffs. I could see the Pens losing in round 1 just as easily as I see them in the finals. Fact is that it’s a crapshoot at best. Ask the Devils. Finals one year, no ticket to the dance this year.

  5. whammy71 - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Islanders have Pens number in playoffs…..1975……1982……1993…….but not this year!!! No playoff experience vs a ton of playoff experience! My crystal ball says Pens in 6!

  6. steelers88 - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Scary 1993 anyone?

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