THE MORNING SKATE — Time to Scoreboard Watch

Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:

It’s been a long time, but Islander fans are finally in the position to scoreboard watch in April. Last night’s win moved the team two points further away from the Devils, whose collapse has coincided with the Isles resurgence, and ahead of the Jets. The Jets only trail the Islanders by two points, but the Islanders have a very important game in hand.

While the Islanders are off today, the Devils will play their second game in as many days. They head upstate to take on the Sabres at 7:30pm. Also in action are the sixth place Senators, who are in Florida. Believe it or not the Islanders are only two back of the Sens, but Ottawa does have two games in hand.

The Islanders win last night in front of 16,000+ in attendance at the Coliseum boosted their playoff chances quite a bit. According to Sports Club Stats, who tracks and calculates these sorts of things, the Islanders raised their chances of making the playoffs by 16% last night to an overall 60% chance.

The magic numbers the Islanders have been chasing all year to make the playoffs have been around 52-54 points. Right now they’ve got 42 with nine games remaining. To be in a comfortable position — also known as 54 or 55 points — they’ll need to win about six of those remaining nine or pickup a bunch of overtime points.

They’re not out of the woods yet, but they can certainly see daylight.

MY GAWD, ITS LARRY BROOKS’ MUSIC!
NY Post columnist Larry Brooks chimes in after the Islanders win against Tampa Bay:

Among the biggest winners of the trade deadline, if not the biggest winner of them all, stand our Islanders, who acted like an honest-to-goodness, real-life hockey organization by holding onto prospective free agent rental prey such as Mark Streit, Evgeni Nabokov and Brad Boyes in order to pursue the playoff spot that seemed a pipe dream at the start but is now very much within sight.

The decision to toll Nabokov’s contract, whether made by general manager Garth Snow or owner Charles Wang, and whether borne out of spite or by prescience when the netminder refused to report when claimed off waivers on that European re-entry try by Detroit in 2011, proved a signal one in the club’s growth.

He really just wrote “our Islanders”? Huh?

But anyway, if Brooks is praising the Islanders, they must be doing something right.

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

ALSO: An awesome post on advanced hockey stats and why they matter written in a language everyone can understand… And a Tavares profile from Sports Illustrated…