The Islanders face the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon for the 5th and final time this season. After winning the first matchup, the Isles fell to the Pens in the three following games.
The Islanders come into today's 1pm matinee game at Energy Consol Centre tied for 8th place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Rangers. Thanks to a huge shootout victory against the Flyers on Thursday night, New York is currently on their best win streak of the season at 3.
With the Islanders fresh off of their biggest win of the year in DC, they moved towards Philadelphia with the 8th seed in sight. Their eyes were certainly on the scoreboard to see what the Rangers were doing in Ottawa.
However, they needed to take control and take care of business in Philly first. Two important points were on the line.
Playing in Philly has been nothing short of a nightmare in recent years for the orange and blue. So when the road Isles went down 2-0 early, no one could have expected a come back could be in the works.
But these Islanders have shown a lot of grit and persistence on the road. They battled back behind Colin McDonald's two goal party.
The Islanders opened up their four game road trip with a big win against the Capitals in D.C. This victory put them, if only temporarily, tied for the last playoff spot. They played with desperation, taking the play to the Capitals immediately.
Around the four minute mark, Marty Reasoner, standing alone in front misses a point blank shot. The Isles kept up the pressure and at 6:25 of the first Grabner nets a beauty on a nice play from Keith Aucoin. Isles 1 Caps 0
This is the year that the New York Islanders should look to be buyers at the trade deadline.
It is only just eight days away, and the Islanders presently sit with 31 points, just two shy from tying the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot with only 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Typically at this juncture, the Isles are on the verge of collapsing into the final three spots of the Eastern Conference and increasing their chances of winning the draft lottery. Although that is still a frightening scenario that can still play out for Garth Snow's squad, it is time for the Isles GM to make a statement that the rebuild is over.
In the finale of this recent homestand, the Islanders look to salvage two points after going 0-3 so far. Their futility at home has been consistently troubling and their 5-11-2 record leaves fans scratching their head.
If they are to miss the playoffs in the shortened 2013 season, they can look to their play at home as the reason why. They have collected only 12 of a possibly 36 points at the Nassau Coliseum all season.
Despite all of this, the Islanders remain only 3 points out of a playoff spot. In order to make any sort of legimiate run towards the postseason, the Islanders have to fatten up their record against teams like the bottom dwelling Panthers.
Ullstrom is most effective when he's skating hard and working the forecheck to create turnovers. When he is on, he's also a pest and easily gets under the skin of opponents, all the while playing a clean game.
When Ullstrom is doing these little things, that's when he is creating his best offense. Forcing turnovers and converting them to offense is the hallmark of the young Swede.