2013 Stanley Cup Playoff Team – New York Islanders
In the end, the New York Islanders may have no one to blame but themselves. While the team has started a #BELIEVE campaign to stoke a thirsty fan base’s enthusiasm for their spot in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Islanders’ No. 8 seed earned them a pairing with the Eastern Conference power Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins had high expectations for the 2013 NHL Playoffs before their trades provided them near unprecedented depth; however, the New York Islanders’ trouncing of the Penguins at the Consol Energy Center early in the season provided the most evident spark for the Pens that they needed to refocus if they hoped to succeed. The two teams met four more times in the 2013 NHL season, and the Islanders lost all four times. While the young and talented Islanders may have surprised some people by making the 2013 NHL playoffs, that first victory against Pittsburgh made certain that the Pens wouldn’t take this Long Island crew lightly ever again.
But this is the second season, and the inexperienced New York Islanders are led by MVP candidate John Tavares and #BELIEVE they can do anything. While the Islanders’ recent postseason resume is underwhelming, there was a time when they were a dominant NHL postseason force, with a streak of four straight Stanley Cups ending 30 years ago. Twenty years ago, the Islanders upset the President’s Trophy winning Penguins in the first round; no one gave them a chance then, maybe – just maybe – this year’s team can do it again. The regular season record and the Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 1 result may not seem to show that, but this series won’t be won because of the regular season or deep rosters on paper or one bad game. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov has over 80 games of playoff experience, and this New York Islanders team has front-line talent and a potent power play. The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a race to four games. Are the Islanders fast enough this year, or are they just gaining postseason seasoning for a future Stanley Cup run?
The New York Islanders are due to move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in after two more years (beginning 2015-16 season), but for now their home ice remains the confines of the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders lost both games they hosted versus the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 NHL regular season, and they will have to defend their sheet if they hope to get an upset in round one of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.