Islanders beat Devils to clinch playoff berth, 3rd place in Metro division

Islanders Cizikas Ducks
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

For the fifth time in six seasons, the New York Islanders are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs after defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Monday night at the Prudential Center. 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Palmieri scored with 4:30 of each other in the first period before Brock Nelson’s second-period tally and Kyle MacLean’s insurance marker in the third put things away for New York while goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves.

With 92 points on the season (38-27-16), the Islanders have clinched the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division, meaning they will face the second-place side in the division during the first round. With the Rangers ahead of the Ottawa Senators, which would clinch the division title and President’s Trophy, that means the Islanders would play the Carolina Hurricanes for a second straight season.

Last year, the Hurricanes defeated the Islanders in six games in their first-round matchup.

New York’s path to the playoffs was a bumpy one. After a 19-15-11 start that featured a seven-game losing streak in November, the team fired head coach Lane Lambert and brought in Hall-of-Fame goaltender and former Colorado Avalanche bench boss Patrick Roy. 

Play remained inconsistent under Roy’s new system. A six-game win streak that spanned from February to March was followed up by a six-game losing streak but a top-heavy Metropolitan Divison left the door open for the Islanders.

They rebounded well and are finishing the season strong, taking seven of their last eight games to catapult over the likes of the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

This has been the most successful stretch the Islanders have had in decades. The only other time they have made the playoffs in five of six years is when they made 14 straight postseason appearances from 1975-1988.

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com