By Jeff Capellini
First off, let’s make one factor completely clear: The Islanders are off to a a lot better begin this season than a yr in the past.
The Isles buried themselves to start 2016-17, profitable simply six of their first 20 video games (6-10-four). In consequence, they have been tasked with a season-lengthy uphill climb and compelled to play aggravating hockey for seven months. Although they fought the great struggle through the season’s second half, they finally fell one level shy of a playoff berth.
Quick ahead to September. Recent off having the interim label faraway from his title, head coach Doug Weight declared that the Isles wanted to emerge from coaching camp with a function.
Apart from the apparent causes, the Isles needed to get out of the gate shortly as a result of they play in in all probability the hardest division within the NHL. The Metropolitan is stacked with a number of groups that realistically might make a run to the Stanley Cup Ultimate, together with the 2-time defending champion Penguins and the up-and-coming Blue Jackets. Throw within the creating-quicker-than-anticipated Devils, the ever-harmful Capitals and the rebounding Rangers, and it’s straightforward to see why a protracted droop at any level might doom a so-referred to as contender.
The Islanders acquired the message, as their 9-6-2 document signifies. And contemplating they may find yourself enjoying 12 of their first 20 video games on the street, they need to really feel fairly good about the place they stand as of Tuesday morning — 4 factors out of first place within the division and in a wild-card spot.
However but, their first 17 video games weren’t as rewarding as they might have been. The Isles would simply be atop the Metro proper now had they not produced a couple of terrible efforts that, at this level, many people thought that they had outgrown. A season-opening 5-zero no-present at Columbus, a 6-four defeat at Minnesota on Oct. 26 that was nowhere close to as shut because the rating signifies and a 5-zero meltdown at Dallas on Friday show that the Isles, although improved, are nonetheless a reasonably troublesome workforce to determine.
Look, all groups are able to stinkers. It’s an unavoidable byproduct of enjoying so many video games in such a brief time period underneath an immense quantity of strain. However the Islanders’ enigmatic methods are much more confounding when you think about a few of their victories this season. Just like the 6-2 win at Cup runner-up Nashville on Oct. 28 and Saturday’s…