The New York Islanders and Calgary Flames are the two biggest surprises among the NHL's division leaders. They will have to finish the job with what got them here.
The Islanders and Flames meet Tuesday night for the second time in less than a week when New York hosts Calgary at Nassau Coliseum.
Both teams are coming off victories. The Islanders completed a western Canadian road swing Saturday by blanking the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0. The Flames began a three-game road trip Sunday by earning their fifth straight win with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Calgary's streak includes a 4-2 win over New York last Wednesday.
The Islanders and Flames generally stood pat at the NHL trading deadline, even as their division rivals added pieces for the playoff push.
The Islanders, who missed the playoffs by 17 points last season and have the second-longest division title drought in the NHL (the franchise won the Patrick Division during the 1987-88 season), didn't make a trade prior to the deadline.
New York leads the Metropolitan Division by two points over the Washington Capitals, who acquired left winger Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings for two draft picks on Thursday, and by six points over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who added four players -- center Matt Duchene, center Ryan Dzingel, goalie Keith Kinkaid and defenseman Adam McQuaid -- since Friday.
Hall of Fame president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, who was hired last May, said he was content with staying the course with a team whose sum has proven to be greater than its parts following the departure of captain John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs last July.
The Islanders' biggest addition was reigning Stanley Cup-winning head coach Barry Trotz, whose ability to implement a defensive structure and improve the team culture has turned New York from the most porous team in the NHL into its stingiest. >> Read More
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