Anything can happen, it often does, and as fans of this team we want the New York Islanders to win any way possible in the 2014-15 playoffs.
101 points is a wonderful season, and should be celebrated/remembered because there are a lot of very good things that happened.
Of course the leagues worst schedule combined with injuries finally wore them down, that's been a part of this, and anyone who tells you otherwise must feel the NBCSN schedule was fair/balanced to showcase NBC/NBCSN/COMCAST/SMG owner Ed Snider's laughingstock Philadelphia Flyers, and the Buffalo Sabres.
A seven game road trip in January, one two day break for weeks in February, plus a 4/6 to open March with a nice trip to Toronto the night before playing the rested Rangers who again got a team playing/traveling the night before never came close to evening out.
Not sour grapes, simply what happened. The NHL did not give our team a three day vacation before going to the West coast on three separate occasions.
But it's time for a reality check about what's coming up, writing what you wish to read does not make it happen.
By now after an 82 game body of work you know whether a team is playing the kind of complete overall hockey game where they can win the Stanley Cup.
The answer is a resounding no to that question for the 2014-15 New York Islanders.
It would be very easy to credit Columbus on an 11-0-1 streak, again coming back down two goals to win a shootout against the Islanders. (with over fifty shots)
Just as it was to credit so many red-hot teams the Islanders faced in March:
Chicago: 7-0 win streak when they met.
Rangers: Schedule/rest assisted record vs tons of tired teams since early December.
Kings: Who left all they had on table going 3-0 in NY area.
Ducks: Top team in the western conference.
Senators: With Andrew Hammond's 20-1-2 run for the ages the best NHL story in years.
Montreal: With their season.
Detroit: Beat Tampa 4-0 before they came here.
The Islanders played all those teams in March at home (not
Chicago) and lost by a single goal to every single one of them besides Detroit. (Habs
Those regulation losses said a great deal about this team.
And for the so-called teams with nothing to play for?
New Jersey was on an 11-2-2 run when the Islanders won in Newark.
Buffalo was two minutes from beating Chicago and coming here on a 3-0 run.
Philadelphia: Eleven consecutive wins vs playoff teams entering game vs Islanders.
It's not supposed to be easy, regardless of how another team was playing, but they hardly caught one team at the right time.
Something always happened when the game was on the line, this is where you learn if your team is good enough or not.
The flaws on this team defensively/losing leads, giving up goals in critical moments or simply not able to lock down the opposition with a lead have been there all season.
They would score a big goal, and give it right back.
These similar flaws cost them fourteen games last year up by two goals entering the third period, with a different starting goaltender/top pairing defenders in 2013-14 which fair or not does put the coaching staff on the hot seat.
Let's also be clear we have now seen signs why Jaroslav Halak is not the goaltender other teams wanted long term as their answer in these critical moments.
Despite the recent improvements killing penalties, the special team issues are what they have been which are flawed at best.
The injuries, and patching together lineups are also not going away, we have seen Kulemin on the first line all season simply not do enough to hold the spot, which speaks to his career trends. We hope for Okposo to find his game of which there were some signs against Columbus, and for the best the young players have to give at this point in their careers.
Anything can happen, but to be honest we know this team has flaws a true championship level team does not have.
Everyone is hoping for the best, we now see what happens whether it ends in four games or with Tavares in lower Manhattan this June in a Canyon of Hero's New York Islander parade with the Stanley Cup.
Beyond this I have nothing left to write here until we know.