Technically, the Islanders still could make the playoffs.
“Realistically,” coach Scott Gordon said, “we’ve been looking at having to win 90 percent, 80 percent of our games since the Olympic break.”
And now, with 10 games to go and eight points behind Boston’s occupation of the last post-season spot in the Eastern Conference, Gordon acknowledged that the “best-case scenario” would be to win four games and have all the others in contention -- Atlanta, the Rangers, Florida, Carolina and Tampa Bay -- all lose every game.
Which is impossible, because some must play each other.
“It didn’t help that Boston won [Sunday],” Gordon said, but he insisted that “the task doesn’t change.” The idea obviously is to keep plugging away and Gordon declared that “the guys have been great” in terms of effort and professionalism. “A win is still fun; it doesn’t matter what your record is.”
The record, of course, is 29-33-10, certainly less painful that last season’s final 26-47-9. And there continues to be other evidence of progress. Rookie John Tavares was named the league’s No. 2 Star of the Week after scoring seven points -- five against Vancouver last Tuesday. It was the first such honor for an Islander this season and, as far as an Islander official could recall, the only one in the past two years. The past week’s No. 1 star was Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne was No. 3 -- making Tavares the only non-Finnish star of the week.
Gordon referred all questions regarding rehabbing goalie Rick DiPietro to the team’s public relations staff. “I’m done talking about that,” Gordon said. A spokesman said there was “no update” on DiPietro, who has played only 13 games the past two seasons.
Five players were given the day off from Monday’s hour workout, four because of “bumps and bruises:” forward Kyle Okposo and defensemen Bruno Gervais, Mark Streit, and Dylan Reese. The fifth player, goalie Martin Biron, was in Buffalo with his wife, awaiting the birth of their fourth child.