New York Islanders

Despite a brutal effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders’ magic number has been cut to four.

By Justin Weiss

With a 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston Bruins sunk even further into ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, and cut the New York Islanders magic number to four.

Boston, which trailed six-nill to begin the contest, almost became the first team in NHL history to win a game after going down by a deficit that large.

This comes after New York got utterly obliterated by the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 on Saturday night, surrendering two PPG and a shorthanded goal as well.

“There’s just no excuses for that effort,” Islanders captain John Tavares said following the game. “It’s embarrassing, starting with myself. You have to look yourself in the mirror and ask how bad do you want [to make the playoffs]. It was a big game at an important time of the year and to play the way we did is unacceptable.

“We just came off of a decent stretch were we won four of five and had our backs up against the wall. It’s another test on Monday (against the Tampa Bay Lightning), then into the last week. So it’s up to us how bad we want it and where we want to get to. I believe in this group so it’s just disappointing the way we played today.”

It’s nearly impossible for the Isles not to make the playoffs right now. Here are the current wild-card standings:

  1. Isles: 93 points/77 games (37 ROW)
  2. Flyers: 91 points/77 games (36 ROW)
  3. Bruins: 90 points/79 games (37 ROW)

These are the upcoming schedules for the teams in the mix with the Isles:

  • NY Rangers: 4/4 @ Columbus, 4/5 vs. Tampa Bay, 4/7 vs. ISLES, 4/9 vs. Detroit
  • Pittsburgh: 4/3 vs. Philadelphia, 4/5 @ Ottawa, 4/7 @ Washington, 4/9 @ Philadelphia
  • ISLES: 4/4 vs. Tampa Bay, 4/5 @ Washington, 4/7 @ NY Rangers, 4/9 vs. Buffalo, 4/10 vs. Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia: 4/3 @ Pittsburgh, 4/6 at Detroit, 4/7 vs. Toronto, 4/9 vs Pittsburgh, 4/10 @ ISLES
  • Boston:  4/3 @ Chicago, 4/5 vs. Carolina, 4/7 vs. Detroit, 4/9 vs Ottawa
  • Detroit: 4/6 vs. Philadelphia, 4/7 at Boston, 4/9 @ NY Rangers

The worst the Isles can finish is ninth place in the East. Any combination of Islander points gained and Bruins points lost totaling 4 will guarantee that the Isles finish ahead of Detroit.

The Isles’ magic number against each team goes as follows: 4 over Boston, 5 over Detroit, and 9 over Philadelphia.

The Islanders and Flyers are neck-and-neck in the race for the first wild card spot. The two teams face off in the final game of the season.

NEXT: Pittsburgh Penguins Shutout The New York Islanders 5-0 (Highlights)

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.