McDonald: The Isles Sure Look Good Right Now

(Twitter: @NYIslanders)

If the Islanders play like they did tonight in the playoffs, then look out.

That 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers was a message game for the rest of the league.

No lead is too safe and Brooklyn isn’t a warm and fuzzy place to play for a visiting club.

“That’s what we preach, that’s the way we need to play,” said coach Jack Capuano. “That’s our identity. We have to play to our identity and if we don’t we have no chance of winning. Fortunately, in the third, we did some good things and got some good bounces.”

Right now, you would much rather be the Islanders with 84 points and 15 to play than the Rangers with 85 and 13. Not only do the games in hand help Brooklyn, but they are winning the way the Blueshirts are losing.

And if the playoffs started today, you would have to say advantage Kings County.

More importantly, the Isles are turning their new home into a new Fort Neverlose. since the All_Star Break, the Islanders are 6-0-1 at the confluence of Flatbush and Atlantic. They are making it a very tough place to play.

For all the bad things it has been said about Barclays, the Isles have tailored their team to the arena. Because it wasn’t built for hockey, it doesn’t have the greatest refrigeration system and because it’s over the railroad, the floor heats up.

Unlike Madison Square Garden – where the arena is on the fifth floor – Barclays is underground, getting the full effect of the warmth.

All of that makes it a very soft ice, which gets slushier as the game goes along. The Isles use that late in games to slow down the action and make the speedier teams fight for every inch of space.

And like tonight, it results in late goals for the Islanders.

I want them to realize that’s the way we need to play- the attention to detail, the intangibles, the little things,” Capuano said. “In the third, we played to our identity.”

That’s rolling four lines, having a tough forecheck and standing teams up at the blue line.

It’s playoff hockey and when it rolls around, they will be a very tough draw, be it the Rangers, Capitals or even these Florida Panthers.

If the Islanders win a round or two, no one will be complaining about the obstructed view seats in Brooklyn.

Maybe that was their plan all along.

Either way, these Isles sure look good right now and you would be a fool to bet against them.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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