The New York Islanders are absolutely a top team in the NHL and made a habit of beating the other top teams in the NHL last season.
It’s hard to convince people that the New York Islanders are a top team in the NHL. As the start of the 2021 season approaches more and more predictions and prognostications come out and most of them don’t have the Islanders as one of the top teams in the division let alone the league.
And I get it. On paper, the Islanders don’t exactly have a top tier looking team. Their top player is Mathew Barzal Jersey who finished a COVID shortened year on pace for 72 points. That doesn’t scream elite-level team.
But their record over the last two seasons says otherwise. With 150 games played since 2018-19, the Islanders are 83-15-17 for 183 points. That’s the seventh-best record in the entire league.
And now with a bit of digging, it seems the Isles are also pretty good against the toughest of opposition.
Fans are most looking forward to the New York Rangers vs New York Islanders rivalry
Rejoice, Blueshirt fans! With the new divisions set for the 2021 season, rivalries abound for the New York Rangers. Blue Line Stations conducted an informal Twitter poll to see which rivalry fans think will be the best this upcoming season. The Islanders won, hands down.
With the Blueshirts playing each team in their division eight times and with the schedule loaded with back-to-back games, it’s going to be an exciting season. We had a preview of what this schedule will be like last season when the Rangers played the Islanders three times in nine days in January.
The Rangers won the first two games, the first 6-2 at the Garden. It was the Artemi Panarin show as he established a personal high with five points on two goals and three assists. The second game, at the Nassau Coliseum, was a nail biter with Chris Kreider scoring the winning goal on the power play with 25 seconds left in the game.
The third game was a 4-2 Islander win at Madison Square Garden, the only game that Artemi Panarin missed the whole season, out with an upper body injury.
Alexandar Georgiev was in net for all three games based on his play against the Isles. Was there any bad blood in the series? It was apparent when Scott Mayfield Jersey speared Brendan Lemieux in the third period of the third game, getting a double minor.
Best of the Best
Against arguably the best eight teams in the NHL, the New York Islanders hold the best record going 13-6-3 this season with a +6 goal differential.
In this case, the “top eight teams” in the NHL were derived by their point-percentages last season. Those teams are the Boston Bruins (.714), St Louis Blues (.662), Colorado Avalanche (.657), Tampa Bay Lightning (.657), Washington Capitals (.652), Philadelphia Flyers (.645), Pittsburgh Penguins (.623), and Vegas Golden Knights (.606).
Which NHL team had the best regular-season record against THE BEST* teams?
yup. you guessed it. ✅ the @NYIslanders .659 PTS %age
*top 8 NHL teams using highest points %age, they are the Bruins, Avs, Flyers, Pens, Blues, TBL, Vegas & the Caps. pic.twitter.com/Yk40W6BGU6
— Jason Paul 🥥 (@WaveIntel) December 22, 2020
I understand that at the end of the day you measure the most dominant team by their record and the Islanders 35-23-10 record in 2019-20 (eleventh in the NHL by point-percentage) isn’t what you would call “dominant”. But a healthy New York Islanders club clearly scares the top teams in the NHL.
Holding the seventh-best record in the NHL should be enough to convince anyone that the Islanders are a top team in the NHL. But of course, that’s never enough. The Isles are always going to be that hapless club from the ’90s to some.
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So while this new look at how dominant the Isles are against the best-of-the-best it won’t change some perceptions around the league even though it absolutely should.