The 2021-22 season has certainly not gone according to the plan for the New York Islanders as it’s very unlikely that they will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even with Thursday’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Islanders are 19 points behind the Washington Capitals for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
While the Islanders may soon be starting to make plans for a rebound season in 2022-23, their American Hockey League affiliate is making a strong push to make the AHL playoffs.
Thanks to four wins so far during the month of March, the Bridgeport Islanders are closing in on getting back to AHL .500 as they have a record of 23-25-6-4. With 56 points, the Islanders are two points back of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who currently sit in the 6th and final Atlantic Division playoff spot. However, because of the way that the AHL schedule is set up this season, the column that actually determines the standings is points percentage.
This season, not all teams are playing the same number of games and that is going to be a big factor in the race between the Islanders and Penguins. The Penguins, who will play 76 games this season compared to 72 for the Islanders, currently has a slight lead in points percentage from 0.518 to 0.483. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has 20 games left this season while the Isles have just 14 starting with Saturday night’s contest against the Utica Comets (7pm) at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport.
The parent club has a 2pm afternoon game on Saturday against Dallas at UBS Arena so there is an opportunity for Islanders Country to make it an NHL/AHL doubleheader by making the short trip north from Long Island to Bridgeport.
AHL veteran forward Chris Terry leads the Bridgeport Islanders in scoring with 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points. Center Otto Koivula is second in scoring with 10 goals and 27 points for 37 points while Andy Andreoff, who was up with the big club earlier this season during the COVID-19 outbreak, is third on the Bridgeport club in scoring with 35 points on 14 goals and 21 assists.
Islanders fans can also get a look at other prospects like defensemen Robin Salo, Parker Wotherspoon and Samuel Bolduc, left wing Arnaud Durandeau (12 goals), right wing and former first round pick Simon Holmstrom and goalie Jakub Skarek.
After a slow start to the season, the Bridgeport Islanders have put themselves in a position to contend for a playoff spot down the stretch but each and every game and point is critical with the difference in number of games and catching the Penguins in percentage points. Among the 14 games remaining for the Islanders are two road games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on April 2na and April 16th.
While the season has been a disappointment for the New York Islanders and their fans, there is some excitement down on the farm as the Bridgeport Islanders are hoping to punch their ticket to the AHL playoffs.