At 10:19 pm on Thursday evening, the Florida Panthers assured Islander fans that Saturday would "only" be the final regular season game in the Old Barn, and not the final game.
Florida, behind a game-winning goal from former Islander Brad Boyes, defeated Boston 4-2, and that Bruin loss assured the Isles of a playoff berth for the second time in the John Tavares era.
- ISLES have 98 points, 39 regulation/overtime wins (ROW) & 2 games to play. They can finish with a maximum of 102 points.
- Washington has 101 points, 40 ROW and 1 game to play. They can finish with a maximum of 103 points.
- Detroit has 98 points, 38 ROW and 1 game to play. They can finish with a maximum of 100 points.
- Ottawa has 97 points, 36 ROW and 1 game to play. They can finish with a maximum of 99 points.
- Pittsburgh has 96 points, 38 ROW and 2 games to play. They can finish with a maximum of 100 points.
- Boston has 95 points, 37 ROW and 1 game to play. They can finish with a maximum of 97 points.
Isles, Washington and Detroit have all clinched a playoff spot.
The Isles will guarantee at least a third place finish in the Metropolitan Division IF:
The Isles lose in OT on Friday and lose in OT/SO Saturday while Pittsburgh wins in shootout on Saturday OR
The Isles lose in SO on Friday and lose in OT/SO Saturday
Friday: If Isles win in Reg/OT/SO -- Isles clinch at least 3rd
If Pens win in Regulation Friday, the teams will be tied with 98 points/39 ROW, but Isles hold head-to-head tie break. (Isles would need to match Pens on Saturday -- if Pens get ROW, Isles need ROW to stay ahead of them)
If Pens win in overtime Friday, Isles will be 99/39 while Pens will be 98/39 -- Pens must then beat Buffalo to have any chance of finishing ahead of Isles. If Pit earns ROW, Isles would need ROW; If Pens win in SO, Isles would need just 1 point.
If Pens win shootout Friday, Isles will be 99/39 and Pens will be 98/38 --Pens must then beat Buffalo to have any chance of finishing ahead of Isles. Even if Pittsburgh wins (any type), Isles would need only one point to finish ahead of Pittsburgh.
So what combination would result in an Islander-Ranger first round series?
Isles lose to both Pittsburgh and Columbus in regulation AND
Pittsburgh earns at least 1 point in Buffalo AND
Detroit needs to get at least one point in Carolina AND
Ottawa needs to beat Philadelphia
Who can the Isles play in the First Round
Washington, the Rangers, Montreal or Tampa Bay. They can not face the Penguins, Red Wings, Ottawa or Boston. (Either Pittsburgh, Ottawa or Boston won't face anyone!)