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Islanders Return to Playoffs, but Need to Solve Overtime Woes

The New York Islanders clinch their fifth playoff appearance in six seasons

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished about a month ago 3 min read

This has been quite the interesting season for the New York Islanders. They struggled badly for the most part--to the point where they actually fired Lane Lambert as their head coach just weeks before All-Star Break. The Isles later shocked us with one hell of a coaching hire: Patrick Roy. Yes, you read that right. The GOAT of goaltenders decided to give this NHL head coaching thing another go-around and replaced Lambert as the Isles' head coach. This reunites him with goaltender Semyon Varlamov, as Roy coached Varly for three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche.

Under Roy, the Islanders managed to move above ground and win the games they needed to win, allowing them the opportunity to get into the playoffs on Saturday. Now, they failed to clinch on that day, but two days later, during the season's final sprint, the Isles entered the events needing only a win to get in. They received just that; winning 4-1 over the New Jersey Devils. Roy sure knows how to plague the Devils.

For the fifth time in the last six seasons, the Islanders are in the playoffs, and this stretch has been captivating. It all started in 2019, which saw the Isles reach the Elite Eight, but 2020 and 2021 saw the Isles absolutely shine. In both years, the Islanders reached the third round; losing the Eastern Conference Final in six games in 2020, and being eliminated in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Semifinals in 2021--both by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The following year saw no playoffs for the Isles, but they returned to the dance last year as one of the East's two Wild Cards.

I still can't believe that Bo Horvat isn't a Vancouver Canuck anymore. At the time, it looked like the deal would haunt the Nucks for a while, but they've prospered this year, as have the Isles. Horvat's presence helped the Isles get into the playoffs last year, and he's continued to contribute big time for New York. Currently, Horvat has 33 goals, which ties him with Brock Nelson for the team lead. Regarding points, Mathew Barzal leads in that category with 80 points in 80 games, the only player racking up a point/game. Noah Dobson is second with 70 points, and the aforementioned Horvat has 68, while Nelson has 67.

However, there is one thing that I have to point out when it comes to the Isles: they cannot play more than 60 minutes. The Islanders have lost sixteen games that go past regulation, and eleven of those 16 have come in the overtime period. That's a big problem. It's even a problem in the regular season, which awards a point for just getting in to overtime, but those are 16 points lost in the standings. The Isles should be thanking their lucky stars that the Metropolitan Division, below the Rangers and Hurricanes, is absolutely messed up this season. You can't win in the playoffs if you can't win in overtime, and you have to get it done in the overtime, because there's no shootouts in the playoffs.

So not only have the Islanders clinched a playoff spot, they are also the third place team in the Metropolitan Division. With the New York Rangers winning the Presidents' Trophy, the Islanders are locked into an opening round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes for the second straight year. It was the Hurricanes who ousted the Islanders in the opening round last year, and fittingly, the Isles lost Game Six in overtime. Again, the Islanders better fix their overtime issues if they want to survive and advance in the playoffs, or they will end up with another early exit.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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  • Philip Gipsonabout a month ago

    You've truly delivered here with this latest story. <3

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