The New York Islanders finished the season tied with the Washington Capitals with 101 points. The Capitals would become their first round opponent and two would have an epic first round series that finished in 7 games with an Islanders defeat. The Islanders led the series 2-1 before losing three of the final four games. New York looks to improve in 2015 and make a deeper push in the playoffs.
The schedule makers did not do New York any favors as the New York Islanders schedule could not begin any more difficult with a back to back against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago will give New York an early taste of how championship play looks, unless they have an early season letdown. Even if the Islanders start 0-2 there is no reason to panic as the rest of their October is very light compared to the opening back to back. Really, the whole first half of the season for New York is pretty light compared to other teams. They finished as the five seed in the east last season but have a chance to jump out to a great start in 2015 and possibly finish with a better seed.
Graphic via islandersinsight
The New York Islanders schedule does not force them to meet up with their new rivals, the Washington Capitals, until the calendar turns to 2016. That matchup and the month of January presents the start of a more difficult stretch of games. The Islanders will be tested for the first time game after game in the New Year and we will find out if they are ready. The Islanders will see the Capitals two more times in February and they will need to slow down players other than Ovechkin in order to defeat the Capitals. Most teams focus on shutting down Alexander Ovechkin, and deservedly so, but the Islanders ended up getting beat by other players due to this. Rounding out the New York Islanders schedule is a group of difficult games before finishing the season with a lighter game against Buffalo. If the Islanders are in a similar position as they were in 2014, April will still be important. In the four games prior to the season finale, the Islanders have a brutal combination of three of the four top seeds in the east last season as they face Tampa Bay, Washington and the other New York team. This stretch could decide their playoff positioning and also get them poised and prepared to make a deeper playoff run. The New York Islanders schedule gets more challenging as the year goes on and they will need to put together a good beginning of the season to avoid falling in the standings.
Graphic via cbslocal