The fight got a little tougher Tuesday night for the Islanders (44-26-7, 95 points), who are all but assured of making the playoffs – they will enter Thursday seven points ahead of the ninth-place Blue Jackets –
The third-place Islanders enter Thursday three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. New York has the same number of points (95) and regulation / overtime wins (40) in the same number of games (77) as the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Penguins occupy second place due to a better goal differential (plus-33 to plus-24).
If the islanders lose in regulation and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Capitals on Thursday, the Islanders' lead over the Hurricanes, the first wild card, would drop just two points. Carolina also has a game in hand in New York.