New York Islanders Seek Playoff Path Through the Ottawa Senators' Demise 1
Apr 2, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA;New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres as defenseman Josh Gorges (4) skates away during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Even though they’ve done themselves no favors, the New York Islanders still have a viable path to the playoffs at the Ottawa Senators expense.


The New York Islanders have done a spectacular job of digging themselves into a hole over the past couple of weeks.

Fans know the story by now. The team was on an upswing coming off their nine-game road trip and got only a single point in their following five home games. Despite Jaroslav Halak‘s recall and having won every game he’s started since, the damage has already been done.

Doug Weight was forced to ride Thomas Greiss into the ground just so the Islanders could make up ground in the playoff race, and they couldn’t trust JF Berube to the point that they recalled their exiled starter.

But from now on, fans will wait and see if the stars can align in the Islanders favor. Despite how poorly they’ve played over the last dozen games, the Islanders can make the playoffs if they manage to win out their last four games.

Yes, it’s a tall order. There are no delusions here. It doesn’t look pretty. But remember 2006 and Wade Dubielewicz‘s poke-check? Never rule something out until the math isn’t there.

Dec 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) scores a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, Ottawa lost to Detroit in a shootout, bringing them to 92 points on the season with four games left to play.

For their last four games of the season, the Islanders will play Nashville, Carolina, New Jersey and Ottawa in that order. The only home game comes on Sunday against Ottawa, in what could shape up to be the game that determines their playoff fate.

The Senators can earn no more than two points in their remaining four games with the Islanders also winning out. This would setup a situation for the Islanders to beat the Senators and make the playoffs on the last day of the season.

How it Breaks Down

If Ottawa gets one point in their last three games and the Islanders win out in any fashion, the Islanders must beat Ottawa on Sunday in any fashion.

If Ottawa earns two points and the Islanders win out, the Islanders have to beat the Senators in regulation on Sunday while also amassing more ROW.

If Ottawa earns at least three points OR the Islanders lose a game in any fashion, it’s over.

For the record, if we’re assuming the Islanders are winning out, it better be in regulation. Should they tie with Ottawa in points, they will need as many ROW as possible (Ottawa currently has 36, one more than the Islanders’ 35).

This is also not including the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are two points ahead of the Islanders with as many games to play. They will have to lose out as well.

Not to put a heavier damper on their chances, but also remember that John Tavares is likely out for the rest of the regular season.

Eric Hornick breaks it down here, but essentially in conjunction with the Islanders winning, everyone else has to lose out. It will be a tough week, but the fat lady has not started singing (yet).

The Islanders fate will be determined this week.

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.