In what has been a difficult season and with time running out, the New York Islanders will have to get around a roadblock at the worst possible time in a last-ditch effort to secure a playoff spot.
With leading scorer and captain John Tavares out for the foreseeable future, the Islanders open a four-game road trip Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.
While still mathematically in the mix, the Islanders' chances of a third straight playoff appearance are slim. New York (36-29-12) and Carolina trail Boston by six points for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Islanders and Hurricanes each have five games remaining and the Bruins have four.
To make postseason plans, the Islanders must figure out a way to win without Tavares, who leads the team with 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 77 games.
Tavares suffered an apparent lower-body injury, clutching the back of his left leg, with 3:14 to play in a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday that snapped a three-game losing streak.
"It's not a great scenario ... John is a huge engine and plays every single situation we've asked. It's a big blow any time you see your best player go down," said Islanders coach Doug Weight, who has posted a 19-12-4 record since taking over for the fired Jack Capuano. >>Read more. ...