The Eastern Conference standings are so compact, so crunched together, that even the team with the paltriest of chances can climb back into the race.
That’s what has happened with the Islanders, who were down and out just a couple weeks ago but have found their way back into the race with a recent hot streak, going 7-1-1 in their last nine games, planting themselves on the doorstep of the Wildcard standings as a result.
New York extended its point streak to seven games (6-0-1) with perhaps the most impressive victory of the streak, beating Washington, 3-2, to hand the Capitals just their second regulation loss since December. Thomas Greiss made 28 saves to run his record to 5-0-1 in his last six games, allowing eight goals and yielding a .955 save percentage over that span.
The Isles have also gone 5-0-1 under new head coach Doug Weight, who replaced Jack Capuano when he was relieved of his duties on January 17th. As for whether the team can keep this level up for their new coach, who played the final three seasons of his 20-year NHL career on Long Island, remains to be seen.
The Islanders now sit just three points out of a playoff spot 22-17-9. Not bad for a team that was buried three weeks ago.