Barclays Center — Brooklyn, N.Y.
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The Islanders begin the most important week of their season when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at the Barclays Center. New York will face three straight Metropolotin Division opponents, starting with the Blue Jackets and then they host the New York Rangers on Thursday and travel to Carolina on Friday.
All three teams are a stone’s throw away from each other in the standings and any combination of losses could sink the Islanders season. The Islanders and Blue Jackets both enter tonight’s game with 60 points in the standings and a point behind the Hurricanes for the final wild card spot in the east.
A win for either team would propel them back into a playoff spot, while the loser could see the Rangers leapfrog them depending on the outcome of their game in Minnesota.
“I think this week is do-or-die for us,” Casey Cizikas told Newsday on Monday. “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.”
Tonight will mark the final time that the two teams will meet this season and it will be the second time they’ve seen each other this month. The Islanders picked up a big comeback win over the Blue Jackets on February 3 to snap a two-game losing streak.
However, the win earlier this month was the only time the Islanders have beaten Columbus this season, with the Islanders losing both games at Nationwide Arena. The Islanders have only won twice in their last seven games against the Blue Jackets.
The Islanders gave up 49 shots on goal in their last game against Columbus and have continually let up a high volume of shots this season. In their last 23 games, the Islanders have allowed at least 30 shots on goal in 22 of those contests.
That doesn’t bode well for the Islanders with the Blue Jackets having put up 175 shots through their last four games.
The Islanders will send Jaroslav Halak to guard the net with the rest of the lineup remaining the same as it was in Sunday’s loss to Calgary.