Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Entering play Friday night, the Islanders trail the Metro's third place (and last guaranteed playoff spot) Rangers by 19 points with five games in hand. In other words, not happening. Look elsewhere for your entry.
They are nine points behind the second Wild Card team in the Eastern conference, the Flyers, with four games in hand. Not too shabby, you think, especially when you peek at their next five games and see Colorado, Arizona, Florida (twice) and Carolina.
But wait…to even get to the Flyers, New York has to jump seven other teams. Yes, I said seven. And even though they hold games in hand on all, they are only holding one on the team right below the Flyers -- the Maple Leafs -- whom they trail by six points and have wunderkind and new Twitter star, Auston Matthews, leading the way.
The Islanders are 4-8-2 on the road, and 24 of their final 46 games will be played away from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Included in that is a brutal nine-game roadie that will span February 21 to March 11 and take them from Detroit to western Canada and back around.
It's obvious, from their comments and mentality, that the players have not given up on the 2016-17 season, although a slow start and continued mental errors that have led to a 15-15-6 record have them way behind in the playoff chase.
The chase is tricky and goes beyond just looking at how many points New York is behind or how many games in hand they have on the teams above them - which is….umm….everyone, as they sit last in the Metropolitan division and last in the Eastern conference entering Friday night's game.
Now, if you're the optimistic, glass half full type of fan, there are other ways of looking at the team's current plight. New York plays the top four Metro division teams only seven times, while Philadelphia has 14 games against similar opposition to the end of the season.
Thomas Greiss, who the team seems to play more relaxed in front of, is the new starting goaltender with Jaroslav Halak banished to Bridgeport. The offense has awoken, especially secondarily, scoring four goals or more in five straight games, in which the team is 4-1-0.
Josh Bailey is on pace for a career-high in points, Anders Lee is rolling to another 25-goal season, Andrew Ladd has found his game entering the new year, and it looks as if Anthony Beauvillier is going to be a mainstay for years to come, possibly being groomed into Frans Nielsen's role.
Of the 10 million simulations of the Islanders' remaining 46 games run on sportsclubstats.com, the site gives the team a 12 percent chance of making the playoffs. However, the most likely result that came out was a record of 22-19-5, which would put New York at 85 points for the season, well out of the playoff picture. Even if they went 26-14-6, their chances would only be at 60 percent, and that result came out in only 2 percent of simulation runs.
Whatever the results turn out to be will strictly be on the players being better and more responsible defensively, Greiss and J.F Berube stealing some games and improved special teams.
Whether talk of a Wild Card spot is a delusion of grandeur or just plain fantasy might be more clear next Sunday after the team plays their latest stretch of five games. Should they not pick up at least eight points, the conversation might very well be moot.