New York Islanders must stay hot with playoffs in sight 2
Jan 31, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the game winning goal an empty net goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Barclays Center. The Islanders won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

In the span of three weeks, the Islanders have turned doubters into believers. From being one of the most disappointing Eastern Conference teams to being within three points of a playoff spot.

The firing of Jack Capuano has invigorated this team with new life under interim coach Doug Weight.

But the real test to see if they’re for real or not comes now.

The numbers

In order for the Islanders to make the playoffs, it will likely take at least 96 points.

That’s the amount that the Philadelphia Flyers needed to qualify as the second wild card position a season ago and represents what it’ll take this season.

It will take winning 64% of the remaining games to reach this number.

In other words, the Islanders have to take 43 points or win 22 games in the remaining 34.

It will be tough, there is no doubt as to if that was in doubt. But definitely doable. The focus must be to take three of every four points going forward.

Improved Islanders

There have been some noticeably improved Islanders skating under Weight’s system, and they have not gone unnoticed.

Jason Chimera, Andrew Ladd, Ryan Strome, and Josh Bailey top the list for sure. Ladd has looked resurgent with three points in five-game and Chimera seems to finally be settling in with the Isles.

Even Strome got his first goal in 10 games Tuesday night, and Bailey has two in his last five.

To add to that, Alan Quine also finally tallied a goal with two in his last five for Weight while the other three game in 41 for Capuano.

The Islanders possession numbers have skyrocketed from this play, and it feeds into the defense as well.

Due to their increased possession, they are letting in fewer goals and actually were the team with the fewest allowed goals last week in the NHL.

Essentially, the Islanders have begun their resurgence. From the moment (if they do) land a playoff spot, they will need to make sure they don’t lose it.

It all starts tonight.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.