Russ Miller eats a bit of crow – the Islanders are better than he thought
Only two weeks ago on this very platform, I wrote with confidence that the New Jersey Devils would make the playoffs and the perennially sad sack New York Islanders would not. With the Jets only one point back of three teams, but also with one less game remaining, the playoff fates of several teams will not be determined until the coming weekend. I would love to eat crow on this one (medium-well, thank you).
The Fish Sticks are on quite a roll, 8-0-2 in their last 10 games and if you stretch that out a little farther, they are 11-1-2 over their last 14 games (29 per cent of the season). This is a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs for five straight seasons and only four times in the past 17 campaigns. They haven’t won a playoff round since Al Arbour was Head Coach way, way back in 1993.
So yeah, if you were to tell me at the beginning of this season that the Islanders would be one point ahead of the Rangers with only three games left in the season, I would have put a coin in your hat and told you to continue going to rehab.
Checking out the top line combinations over the past month at Frozen Pool, the line of Josh Bailey–Frans Nielsen–Kyle Okposo sat fourth with 25 points in the last month. The Brad Boyes–Matt Moulson–John Tavares line had 24 points. For comparison, the top performing line was the Jets Andrew Ladd–Bryan Little–Blake Wheeler trio who recorded 32 points. The super-hot Alexander Ovechkin and his line of Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson