Just a few months after Mayor Michael Bloomberg was at a press conference announcing the New York Islanders would move to Brooklyn, Matt Martin finished a week in which he knocked out New Jersey Devils right wing Tom Kostopoulos with a punch by taking a set toward knocking the Devils out of the playoffs with a tie-breaking goal Saturday. Bloomberg may need to pass restrictions on Martin, who is battling with the two other New York Metro teams for the Islanders first playoff appearance since 2007 (see all three team’s schedules below).
Since the Islanders last made the playoffs in 2007, the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils have each made it four of five years. However, right now the three teams are vying for the two final spots, as the last three teams with more points than games played.
The Rangers are in the best shape with 42 points in 38 games after beating the Hurricanes 4-1 Saturday, followed by the Islanders who improved to 42 points in 39 games with the 4-2 win Saturday over the Lightning. However, the Devils dropped to 39 points in 38 games with a 1-2 loss to the Maple Leafs Saturday, making their game Sunday at the Buffalo Sabres a must win for a season that ends in just 20 days when the Devils visit the Rangers to end the season.
Martin is much more known for hitting opponents than scoring goals from his left wing position. He set a record with 374 hits last season, and the Islanders were able to sign him for another four years just before the lockout. He is also an enforcer, as Tom Kostopoulos was reminded when Martin knocked him out cold during a fight, and then signaled immediately for a trainer. The game-winning goal in the third period Saturday broke a 2-2 tie, and was only Martin’s 15th goal in his three-year career. The Islanders scored an open net goal in the final seconds to provide the 4-2 margin. The following are the remaining schedule for all three New York Metro teams, who right now have the 7th, 8th and 9th best points to games played ratios:
|Date||Islanders 42 pts/39 G||Rangers 42 pts/38 G||Devils 39 pts/38 G|
|Sat Apr 6||won vs. Lightning 4-2||won at Hurricanes 4-1||Lost vs. Maple Leafs 1-2|
|Sun Apr 7||at Sabres|
|Mon Apr 8||at Maple Leafs|
|Tue Apr 9||Flyers|
|Wed Apr 10||Maple Leafs||Bruins|
|Thu Apr 11||at Bruins|
|Fri Apr 12||Senators|
|Sat Apr 13||Rangers||at Islanders|
|Mon Apr 15||at Maple Leafs|
|Tue Apr 16||Panthers||at Flyers|
|Thu Apr 18||at Maple Leafs||Panthers||at Flyers|
|Fri Apr 19||at Sabres|
|Sat Apr 20||at Jets||Panthers|
|Sun Apr 21||Devils||at Rangers|
|Tue Apr 23||at Hurricanes||at Panthers||Canadiens|
|Thu Apr 25||at Flyers||at Hurricanes||Penguins|
|Fri Apr 26||at Sabres|
|Sat Apr 27||Devils||at Rangers|