Comments / New

Monday Caterwaul: Islanders surge into playoff spot (for now)

If the playoffs started today, the Florida Panthers would have a new opponent.

After hammering the Anaheim Ducks by a 6-1 count to extend their winning streak to six, the New York Islanders have slid into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, temporarily knocking out the Detroit Red Wings, who have dropped five in a row.

The Islanders and Red Wings each have 72 points with just over a month to go in the regular season. Tampa Bay holds the first wild card with 74 points. New York has two games in hand on the Lightning and one game in hand on the Red Wings.

New York is just two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers, with two games in hand, for third place in the Metropolitan Division, so two paths to the postseason are firmly in play for Patrick Roy’s red-hot charges.

In the AHL, the Charlotte Checkers split a back-to-back on home ice against the Hershey Bears this weekend.

On Friday, Will Lockwood scored two goals and added an assist to power the Checkers to a 5-3 win over the Atlantic Division leaders. Zac Dalpe, Justin Sourdif and Gerry Mayhew also lit the lamp. Matt Kiersted finished with three assists, Alex True had two, and Mayhew, Santtu Kinnunen, Patrick Giles and Brendan Perlini also were credited with helpers. Evan Cormier stopped 19 of 22 shots to pick up his second AHL win of the season.

The Bears won the second game of the set 3-2 on Saturday. Mackie Samoskevich notched his team-leading 16th goal from Rasmus Asplund in the first period and Giles tallied shorthanded late in the second to complete the scoring. Hershey goalie Clay Stevenson came up big in the third as the Checkers outshot the Bears 10-1, but could not equalize. Spencer Knight made 19 saves and was tagged with the loss.

Charlotte is now 28-22-6 and remain in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.

Monday in the Atlantic (Standings/Panthers Playoff Chances)

St. Louis (32-29-3 67P) at BOSTON (38-13-15 91P) 7 p.m.

Idle: TOR (82P), TBL (74P), DET (72P), BUF (65P), MTL (58P), OTT (54P)

Go, Blues!