On Monday night, the New York Islanders received much-needed help in the wild-card race.
The Buffalo Sabres, who sit four points back of the New York Islanders, lost 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers in regulation. The Sabres now only have three games in hand on the Islanders, six potential points, which, if they won all three, would put them just two points ahead of the Islanders.
The Sabres don’t get a break following their second loss over their last three, as they face the Islanders Tuesday night for the biggest game of the season up to this point–each game is critical from here on out.
If the Islanders can get the regulation win Tuesday against a tired foe, given how they dominated the Oilers, that would give Lane Lambert and his squad 74 points, six points of separation.
That would mean the Sabres would have to win all their games in hand to tie New York, with the Islanders holding the tiebreaker with 32 regulation-overtime wins to Buffalo’s 31.
Thanks to a five-game winning streak, the Ottawa Senators put themselves back in the playoff picture, as they entered Monday night four points back of the Islanders, like the Sabres, but with four games in hand.
However, the tanking Chicago Blackhawks put an end to Ottawa’s recent dominance, as they shut them out 5-0.
The Senators remain four points back with just two games in hand now.
With Ottawa not playing Tuesday night, that will give them three games in hand. If the Islanders do win, the Senators would have to win all of their games in hand to catch the Islanders–just like Buffalo.
The Senators have 30 regulation-overtime wins, so the Islanders would also hold the tiebreaker.
The Washington Capitals, who sat four points back with one game in hand, lost to the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.
They are now tied in games played (Islanders are about to go ahead by a game) and are the least of the Islanders concerns right now.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who sit one point shy of the Islanders with three games in hand, face the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday. The Florida Panthers, who are four points back with one game in hand, host the Vegas Golden Knights.
Those are the only two outside games for Islanders fans to pay attention to.
Keep in mind, that the games in hand will fluctuate but if the Islanders can go out at beat Buffalo Tuesday, the Pittsburgh on Thursday and the Washington Capitals on Saturday before going out west, they put themselves in a fantastic spot with 14 games to go.
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