Edmonton Oilers v New York Islanders
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Jordan Eberle #7 of the New York Islanders (r) scores at 4:43 of the second period against Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers at the Barclays Center on November 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Oilers defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Two points keep the New York Islanders from the Metro lead, yet just one point is keeping them in the playoff picture.

The race for the Metropolitan division is full-speed ahead.

With the surprise New Jersey Devils making plenty of noise in their quest for renewed relevance, and the anticipated (albeit, not quite this bad) fall from grace the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s toughest division has some new faces in a neck-to-neck battle.

Only two points separate the New York Islanders from the top of the division, and meanwhile only one is keeping them in a playoff berth. Basically, it’s exactly the game-to-game contest the experts predicted it would be, and more.

While the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only two teams who have yet to lose in regulation at home, their road record is less than stellar at 3-5-0. Scrounging three of the next four points would ensure they maintain pace in the playoff hunt.

Welcome Back, Alan Quine

Nikolay Kulemin suffered an undisclosed Upper-Body Injury after an aggressive check from Eric Gryba during the Islanders contest against the Edmonton Oilers.

While it’s never good to see a player go down via injury, the season debut of Alan Quine should prove to be interesting, especially with the logjam the Islanders posses at forward. Quine managed to only pot 5 goals and 13 points last season.

Despite Quine’s past struggles, keep in mind he has yet to play under the Islanders’ new coaching staff. Not to mention the Islanders’ struggles in the faceoff dot, ranking 24th overall at 48.4%. Any help is welcome, and that’s one automatic upside that Quine will have likely centering Andrew Ladd and Anthony Beauvillier according to practice lines.

Along with Alan Quine, Shane Prince has begun making strides towards his recovery as well.

Gearing Up for the Stars

The Dallas Stars have had a decent enough start at 8-7-0.

Going into the 2017-18 season, the Stars — like the Islanders — are looking to shelve the memory of 2016-17 and build off the success in 2015-16. The Stars won the Western Conference and lost to the St. Louis Blues in 7 games in round two of the post-season that year.

Signing Ben Bishop in the offseason was supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle, at least in theory. While Bishop has not played poorly, his .911 save percentage is far short of the potential he displayed when he was the Vezina-Trophy runner up in 2015-16 with a .926 save percentage.

Bishop enters the month of November win-less in two stars with back-to-back losses against the Winnipeg Jets, and he will make the start against the Islanders.

Offensively, it seems that Ken Hitchcock has some shake-ups in mind. The top line of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin has been split, with Gemel Smith slotting in Alexander Radulov’s place. It seems the Stars are looking to space out the offense or shake things up after two losses.

Mark Methot will not be in the lineup as well.

The Islanders begin their weekend tonight at 8 p.m. on MSG+ with coverage starting at 7:30.

 NEXT: New York Islanders Sensation Mathew Barzal Making Case For NHL Rookie of the Year 


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Matt Di Giacomo

Diehard Islanders and Mets fan growing up in North Jersey. You can hear me in 204 at the Barclays Center. These are just my opinions, feel free to debate them. I upload rants/reviews/postgames on my YouTube channel, please subscribe! Go Isles, Mets, Jets, and NYCFC

Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @BR_SportsCast and check out his reviews on YouTube.