Islanders’ playoff hopes looking worse with 11 games to go in 2024

Islanders Anders Lee Devils
New Jersey Devils left wing Tomas Nosek plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Elmont, New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

The frantic work done by the New York Islanders from late February into the second week of March to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture has been undone instantly.

Now it looks as though they are destined for the draft lottery rather than the postseason.

The Islanders have lost seven of their last eight games, most recently an uninspiring 4-0 loss on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils at UBS Arena on the second leg of a back-to-back, to put their season on the brink with 11 games to go while head coach Patrick Roy is left to rue the lack of mental fortitude coming from his side.

“I feel like it’s been like this for a while,” Roy said (h/t Islanders official site). “We always have some moments where, mentally, we’re making a mistake or bad coverage. It hurts us at the wrong time… We need to find a way to get that mental side of the game in the right place.”

There is not much time or real estate left to figure it out, though. The Islanders trail the Washington Capitals for the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot by four points — plus, the Capitals have a game in hand — and are seven points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for third place and an automatic playoff berth in the Metropolitan Division.

Islanders Panthers
(AP Photo/John Munson)

By no means is it over. The Islanders will lead with those sentiments and broadcast an unwavering sense of belief in their ranks come Tuesday when they practice and are made available to the media again. In terms of their remaining strength of schedule, the Islanders have the 19th-toughest, according to Tankathon.com, which lends initial hope that they can catch fire as they did late last month to make one final push.

Despite an easier schedule, though, they have had limited success against their remaining opponents: the Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers (twice), Devis, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nashville Predators. 

Out of the combined 20 games they’ve played against these opponents this season, they’ve won just six — two of them coming against a Blue Jackets team that is the worst in the Eastern Conference. They are 0-2 against the second-worst team in the East, the Canadiens, and the Rangers. The Devils have also taken down the Islanders in each of their three meetings this season.

Perhaps that is why their playoff odds are as low as they currently are. Per Moneypuck, the Islanders have a puny 5.3% chance of getting to the postseason for a second straight year. 

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com