You know that Best of Seven Islanders-Rangers series hockey fans have been clamoring for all season? The series that would end the ‘nobody cares about hockey’ mantra? The series that would put hockey on the back pages?
It can still happen … in the First Round.
Perhaps they won’t admit it, but even the most diehard Blueshirt bashers will be rooting for the Rangers to beat the Ottawa Senators at MSG on Thursday night thus throwing their sinking rivals a much needed life preserver and clinching a playoff spot for the Isles.
But let’s say Ottawa wins on Thursday.
Let’s say the Islanders lose Friday in Pittsburgh.
Let’s say the Senators beat the Flyers Saturday afternoon.
Let’s say the Penguins beat the McDavid wishing Buffalo Sabres in their finale.
Let’s say the Red Wings earn at least two points in their final two games at Montreal and Carolina.
And let’s say the Islanders close out the Nassau Coliseum in unthinkable fashion with a loss to the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Islanders would STILL make the playoffs if the Boston Bruins lose one of their two final games.
Bruins Remaining Schedule
In that scenario, the Islanders, stuck on 98 points, would be the Eastern Conference’s 8th seed and match up with the NHL’s best team – The New York Rangers.
It would mark the first playoff series matchup between the two franchises since the 1993-94 season. The Rangers won the President’s Trophy that year too and the playoff series with the Isles was, let’s just say, without drama.
The question I pose to Islanders fans is this:
After the kind of loss that the NHL has only seen once before. Seriously, ONCE before.
After being 2.1 seconds and one routine save away from clinching the playoffs.
After the thought of the Islanders leaving Long Island forever after Saturday night keeping you awake.
Would you sign up for a first round clash with the Blueshirts right now?