Image Credit: NY Islanders

Image Credit: NY Islanders

The six year drought is finally over. The New York Islanders lost in the shootout down in Carolina last night but with Washington’s victory over the Winnipeg Jets, the Islanders lone point from this game was enough to qualify them for the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Coach Capuano was quick to say where the credit should go. “Our guys have battled hard and they deserve it. Most importantly, our fans deserve it. They’re passionate. They’ve been with us. They haven’t seen playoff hockey in a while. I’m proud of what the guys accomplished.”

The 4-3 shootout loss could very easily have been a regulation one as the Isles trailed 2-1 after one and 3-2 after two. John Tavares was robbed on a breakaway and an open net situation in the final period saw Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu’ shot hit the post on an empty net from the left circle.

Kyle Okposo, holding his own in front of goal, allowed Tavares shot to deflect off a defender to tie matters. It was the 27th goal of the season for John. The shootout was lost 2-0 with one goal initially stopped by Nabokov but trickled slowly under him unawares. The point was enough and the Islanders finally get to play meaningful games.

It was thirty years ago when the Islanders won the Stanley Cup, in 1983, they captured their fourth consecutive Cup at the peak of their dynasty. With the exception of the Turgeon years and the brief Michael Peca-Alexi Yashin run, it was been more bad than good.

In the last few years, bad leadership has done a number on a franchise that was one of the finest and most respected. That has not been the case in recent years. Whether it was changing to the infamous fisherman logo to finishing in the bottom tier the last four years, it has been an uphill climb. The nets have been empty in Long Island and now with the impending move to Brooklyn the final slap to a community that supported them intensely, has been a media nightmare.

But the tide change when the New York Islanders drafted John Tavares who is now in the conversation for MVP. The team has acquired tough players, and good skaters, and an underrated goaltender has, along with this team, worked hard to improve and left their best every night in this truncated season.

Now, with two games remaining in Philadelphia and then Buffalo, the only question is where they will finish. They are currently sixth and still are only a point behind Toronto for fifth. But the Islanders could also finish between sixth and eighth. No matter how you swing it, the Islanders have finally made it back to the land of the post-season.

About Luis Vásquez

A ten year veteran in the field of freelance writing and editing. Among the publications he has written for is Defining TrendsMagazine, and NYC Sporting News. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

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