With three big games in the next five days, the Islanders are gearing up for a "do-or-die" week.
The first of the three will be the Blue Jackets coming to Brooklyn on Tuesday, and Casey Cizikas speaks for the whole team when he says this game is the start to either good tidings or bad fortunes for the Islanders, who have been up and down all season long.
"I think this week is do-or-die for us," Cizikas told Newsday's Brian Heyman at practice Monday. "We'd either be in a really good position or we can be in a tough position where we're kind of looking from the other side in. We want to make sure that we're putting pressure on other teams to keep up with us and we're not chasing them. So this week is massive."
Rookie Mathew Barzal reiterated Cizikas' statement, saying they are "the biggest games of the year, I think."
The reason the team believes these games could make or break the season is due to the tight race for the two Eastern Conference wild card spots. The Devils hold the first spot with 62 points, while the Hurriancanes -- who the Isles will play on Friday -- hold the second slot with 61 points.
The Blue Jackets and Islanders both have 60 points with the Rangers, who will play their cross-borough rival on Thursday, is just one point behind them. So, it is safe to say there will be some shake up in the race this week, and the Isles are hoping they are moving on up.
How do they do that? Cizikas think playing until the final horn is the key.
"Play a full 60 minutes," he said. "We play good for spurts in games and then we kind of fall asleep."
The Blue Jackets come to town winning only three of their last 10 games, while forcing one overtime.