The Islanders need wins in their final two games and some help to reach their third straight postseason.
To qualify for the final Wild Card spot, the Islanders need all four points in their final two games, and need the Maple Leafs to get no more than one point over the course of their last two. The Islanders visit New Jersey on Saturday and host the Senators on Sunday. Toronto will host the Penguins on Saturday and the Blue Jackets on Sunday.
"I think it's a credit to the guys in the locker room," Anders Lee said of the Isles' run to the final spot. "We are a resilient group and we've fought out of a lot of stuff this year and we're not going to go down easy."
New York is currently riding a four game winning streak.
Look, I know a lot of Islanders fans don't want to hear about moral victories, especially for a team with two straight playoff appearances under their belt. But I think almost all of us assumed this season was over in December. It's a testament to this team that they didn't just pack it in, and a great reflection on Doug Weight as a motivator that he was able to keep this room moving in the right direction.
They could have even folded after that embarrassing loss in Philadelphia last week. But they kept putting the pressure on, and now, with just two games remaining, the season is alive. And considering that it looked like the Isles would be eliminated long ago, I'm pretty happy to still be interested in hockey in April.
Provided that the Islanders can build on this success, I think it bodes very well for next season. Josh Ho-Sang and Anthony Beauvillier have proven to be exciting, productive NHL players. That core of young forwards is only set to get better with Matt Barzal. And if John Tavares does re-up in July, I think we're going to enter next season with a window of contention that will be open for a long, long time. Sometimes the foundation of a championship is constructed in a down year. This year, I think the Isles learned a lot about themselves, and it will serve them well in the future, whether they make the playoffs this year or not.