Josh Bailey
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders play a troublesome Carolina team with their eyes on first place in the Metropolitan division.

  • New York Islanders (11-6-2, 24 points)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (8-6-4, 20 points)
  • MSG+, WRHU 88.7 FM
  • PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

Riding off the energy from a dominant 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Islanders are in a position to take hold of something they haven’t seen since this time in 2014 — the top of the Metropolitan division.

With the New Jersey Devils suffering a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets last night, the door is open for the Islanders to take an opportunistic leap over three teams in the standings, proving exactly how tumultuous the Metropolitan division has been this season.

Counting up from the second wild card, just two points separate the Washington Capitals from the Metropolitan division lead, with the trio of Columbus, Pittsburgh and New Jersey tied at 25 points.

It’s proving to be just as much of a rat race for the division as everyone hyped it up to be, and with two points tonight, the Islanders enter the conversation as serious dark horse candidates in the east.

With Thomas Greiss getting the nod in net last night, the Islanders likely turn to Jaroslav Halak, a man in desperate need of a dominant performance.

Since Greiss’ start against the Minnesota Wild, he’s won four of his last five, and collected at least a point in each start. Greiss is averaging a .910 save percentage and a goals-against average of three. While still a bit inflated for his standards, the goaltending numbers are starting to trend in the proper direction.

NOTES

After snapping a nine-game point streak, Josh Bailey had entered a three-game pointless stretch. Last night, the elite winger had his another three-assist game to keep his minimal point-per-game average.

With the Penguins’ 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Islanders are the only team left in the NHL that has yet to lose at home in regulation — a testament that yes, opposing teams hate going to the Barclays Center as much as some of you.

Remember when head coach Doug Weight had the second-highest point conversion since he took over as head coach last season? His dominance has continued through the beginning of this season.

The Islanders are in a serious position to take reign of a hotly contested division tonight, and doing so would turn heads around the NHL to what’s happening in Brooklyn. Have your flat-screens tuned in to MSG+ at 5 p.m. ET.

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