The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway this week and unfortunately, the Rangers and Devils will be staying home. But one local team had quite a different result. That other team out on Long Island put together a fantastic season.
The Islanders completed their best regular season since their Stanley Cup days of the ’80s, finishing with a 48-27-7 record. Their 103 points was fourth in the league and were the most points from an Islanders team since 1984.
How’d they do it? Defense! A year ago, the Islanders allowed 296 goals, the most in the NHL. This season they allowed a league-low 196, winning the William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals against and becoming the first team in a 100 years to go from worst to first in the goals against category.
The Islanders earned home-ice advantage for their first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins which begins Wednesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
It’s been a pretty amazing turnaround under first-year coach Barry Trotz who preached team first, “if you want to go somewhere quick, go by yourself. If you want to go somewhere far, you have to go as a group. They decided to go as a group so far.” It was only fitting that Trotz capped the season with a 3-0 shut out against his former team, the Capitals, in DC. He led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup last year. Can he return the Islanders to the glory years of the early ’80s? So far it’s been a great start.