Islanders seek to better playoff positioning vs. Kings

Islanders seek to better playoff positioning vs. Kings

It took the New York Islanders just two weeks to jump from 12th place in the Eastern Conference into the second wild-card spot.Now the Islanders only have to wait a day for an opportunity to even mor

It took the New York Islanders just two weeks to jump from 12th place in the Eastern Conference into the second wild-card spot.Now the Islanders only have to wait a day for an opportunity to even more drastically improve their playoff positioning.The Islanders will look to continue their timely surge Monday night when they complete a back-to-back road set by visiting the Los Angeles Kings.The Islanders extended their season-long winning streak to six games Sunday night when they routed the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Kings continued a five-game homestand Saturday night and fell to the Dallas Stars 4-1.Casey Cizikas, Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson scored in the first period Sunday night as the Islanders wasted little time taking control against the Ducks and positioning themselves to move into a wild card spot for the first time since Jan. 13.Seven days later, New York fired head coach Lane Lambert and replaced him with Patrick Roy. The Hall of Famer was 3-5-3 in his first 11 games at the helm as the Islanders fell nine points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the East’s final wild card spot.But the Islanders have outscored the opposition 30-11 since Feb. 26, when the six-game winning streak began, to move into a tie for the final wild-card spot with the Detroit Red Wings at 72 points apiece. New York is officially in eighth place because it has a game in hand on Detroit.And with another win Monday, the Islanders would move into a tie with the Lightning for the first wild-card spot as well as into a tie with the Philadelphia Flyers for third place and the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. New York currently has two games in hand apiece on Tampa Bay and Philadelphia with both teams idle Monday.”There’s 19 games left — it’s a long road,” Palmieri told Newsday. “But I think, realistically, it’s better to be in that spot than chasing one.”

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