Isles' Clinch is Extra Sweet for Long Suffering Fans

With the Islanders down a goal late in the 3rd at Carolina, it seemed like the clinching party would have to be put on hold. That all changed when John Tavares slid a puck to the front of the net that somehow wound up crossing the line. It would seem like some sort of supernatural force is driving them to be this lucky.

But what we are realizing collectively with each passing game is that for too long we have been mistaking lucky for good. This Islanders team is talented, driven and gritty. They are playing hockey the right way and making a starving fan base proud on a nightly basis.

With the Islanders losing in a shoot-out, they picked up a valuable point that made clinching possible. For all hockey fans with access to the out of market games, they all turned their attention to the action in the nation’s capital. The Capitals were clinging to a one goal lead when Winnipeg pulled Pavelec to bring on an extra man. As the seconds dripped off the clock for what seemed like hours, the Caps connected with an empty netter which sealed the Islanders’ fate.

They are playoff bound for the first time in 7 years.

This team is not backing in or barely squeaking by like they did as an 8th seed in 2007. The Isles are making noise and continuing to press forward as one of the hottest teams in the league.

The feelings were hard to describe last night as the standings updated on every website with an ‘x’ next to the Islanders’ name. It was a surreal feeling to experience the joy of a clinch while the Rangers' uncertain future still hung in the balance.

This article isn’t really about wrapping up the game or the season thus far. I wanted this article to serve as navigation through our emotions as fans of the oft damaged franchise.

It was weird tossing another good memory in the bank instead of adding to the tall, towering and intimidating stack of disappointments.

Even the truest pessimists are finding a way to believe. The tide has changed and it is impossible to erase the smiles off of the fans' faces.

I want this article to serve as a spring board for conversation.

Was last night a moment that you truly treasured?

Will this be viewed as a moment that started a new dynasty?

Has the team raised your expectations so high that you felt like last night was and should be viewed as no big deal?

Fact is, last night was a big deal. This was the first time the Islanders have made it into the playoffs since 2007. It’s been even longer since they were actually a credible and dangerous squad. The team is clicking in all aspects of their game.

It is with my fingers crossed that I say this…

The New York Islanders have an opportunity to make some noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They also have a legitimate chance to win a playoff series for the first time in 20 years.

 

-Steve Giangaspro