It all comes down to this.
The Isles can emerge from Thursday night’s festivities in one of two ways: (a) with a newfound sense of confidence, or (b) with their season in the drain.
Here’s what’s at stake: the Senators (42-27-10, 94 points, 37 ROW) take on the Bruins, with the former needing to lose; the Maple Leafs (39-25-15, 93 points, 38 ROW) take on the Lightning, with the former needing to lose; and the Islanders (38-29-12, 88 points, 36 ROW) take on the Hurricanes, with the former needing to win.
Here’s how the Isles can make it to the playoffs:
The Islanders finish off 3-0, while the Maple Leafs finish off 0-3
The Islanders finish off 3-0, while the Senators finish off 0-3
The Islanders finish off 3-0 (winning all three in regulation or OT), while the Maple Leafs finish off 0-2-1
Devon Toews was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team after leading all first-year players in assists (37). He’s part of a stacked defensive pipeline that features Ryan Pulock, Parker Wotherspoon, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield and Mitchell Vande Sompel.
For the first time in two weeks, Nikolay Kulemin (lower body) skated with the team. “He’s a big piece,” head coach Doug Weight said on Wednesday. “We’ll see how he feels. He’s skating today and we’ll get a report on him in the morning.”
The Isles travel to PNC Arena to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST on MSG+2 (yes, that channel). There’s been nothing on lineups or injuries, but we’ll update this when there is.