New York Islanders Nassau Coliseum
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As the New York Islanders continue their unforeseen rise in the standings, one county official is fighting hard for Long Island.

Matt Di Giacomo

The New York Islanders are sitting pretty atop the Metropolitan Division, a trip to the playoffs well within reach.

As Ian McDiarmid said in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, “A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one at that.”

Long Island is buzzing with excitement that’s been so fervent some say it can even be felt in parts of Brooklyn some nights.

It wasn’t a topic that Isles fans expected to be discussing at this point in the season, but with 66 points—the third most in the Eastern Conference—the Islanders seem destined for a record finish this season and a hotly contested trip to either the Barclays Center or Nassau Coliseum.

The decision regarding which stadium the Isles will host home postseason games this season is still pending.

Spoiler alert: the fans’ unanimous choice is the Coliseum.

After the Islanders rallied back from a 2-1 deficit by scoring three-straight goals against the L.A. Kings at Nassau Coliseum, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran drafted a letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman requesting the Islanders get true home-ice advantage at Nassau Coliseum (should everything work out).

The Islanders are set to ship up to Boston as they continue their playoff push.

Boston is coming off of a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Super Bowl Sunday, a game in which Tuukka Rask officially became the winningest goaltender in Bruins franchise history.

While the Bruins can turn to him, there’s always the chance for Jaroslav Halak to make his first start against the Islanders since signing a two-year contract with Boston last July.

For the Islanders, Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner took turns starting each of the last two games. Both goaltenders are playing at an elite level that has come to be expected.

It’s likely that Barry Trotz won’t reveal any starters prior to game time, per his usual MO.

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Michael Dal Colle is slowly adjusting to the NHL pace through his first 15 games this season. Dal Colle netted the game winner against the L.A. Kings, his second goal and third point thus far.

Meanwhile, the Anthony Beauvillier, who seemed primed for an emergence through the last two months, is nowhere to be found. In 26 games from the beginning of November to the end of December, Beauvillier scored 10 goals and 14 points.

In the 13 games since Jan. 3rd, he has one goal and four points.

Both Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey have been making steady progress toward returning. Trotz will have some tough decisions to make once all of the first-place Islanders are healthy.

According to Andrew Gross of Newsday, Trotz says the team hasn’t considered what happens once everyone is healthy, but he did not rule out the possibility of Ladd and Hickey joining the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for conditioning once they are healthy enough to resume play.

In case you weren’t aware, Casey Cizikas is in the midst of a career-best season. In just 44 games, Cizikas has scored a career-high 12 goals and is only eight points away from reaching his high of 29.

Puck drop at TD Garden on Feb. 5 is scheduled for 7 p.m. on MSG+2.

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.