The Islanders are facing a three-game stretch this week that could impact the fate of their uneven season.
“I think this week is do-or- die for us,” Casey Cizikas said Monday at Northwell Health Ice Center. “We’d either be in a really good position or we can be in a tough position where we’re kind of looking from the other side in. We want to make sure that we’re putting pressure on other teams to keep up with us and we’re not chasing them. So this week is massive.”
The Islanders will face Columbus at Barclays Center on Tuesday, host the Rangers on Thursday and play at Carolina on Friday in three Metropolitan Division games.
Said Mathew Barzal, “The biggest games of the year, I think.”
Carolina currently holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild card with 61 points. The Islanders (27-24-6) and Columbus have 60, one more than the Rangers. The Devils hold the first wild card with 62.
“I think every game now right up until the last game of the season is key,” John Tavares said. “It came down to that for us last year, missing by a point.”
The Islanders have not won consecutive games since Jan. 15. So how do they get on a consistent run in the final 25 games?
“Play a full 60 minutes,” Cizikas said. “We play good for spurts in games and then we kind of fall asleep.”
In each of the last four games, they’ve allowed the tying or winning goal in the last five minutes of regulation, going 1-2-1.
“A couple of them, they got good bounces,” Barzal said. “But at the end of the day, it’s unacceptable.”