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Next three games may dictate the last fifteen | March
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Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders

The Islanders have dug themselves into a whole again. After beating the Blackhawks 5-3 Tuesday night the Isles were thrashed by Atlanta last night 6-3. The obvious cry from fans will be the quiet trade deadline the Isles had. Others will now blame the goalie situation that has some players upset according to Katie Strang. However a great piece by Domink of Lighthouse Hockey debunks that excuse as, well just that an excuse.

All that aside the Islanders are still just six points out a playoff spot (three wins away) and with 18 games left still have shot (STOP LAUGHING). Three wins would put the Islanders where they'd like to be, in place for that eighth spot. Unfortunately for the Isles though their next three games are against Boston, Philadelphia and St. Luis. Boston is not the worry so much as Philly or St. Luis (although after the 6-3 beating every team should be worrisome.) But the Islanders match up well with Boston , a team they have gotten points from every time they met. The Islanders will see Tim Thomas for only the second time this season since Rask started the other two match ups. As well the Isles get to greet an old friend, Miro Satan, at the Coliseum. Thomas and the Bruins are coming off a 3-2 win against Toronto Thursday night, which would their first home win since the Winter Classic and Tim Thomas's first win since January 21st.

The following two match ups wont be as Islander friendly as Saturday's matinee. The Islanders roll/stumble/crawl into Philly Tuesday night for their last trip to the city of Brotherly love in the 09-10 season. The Islanders lost 2-1 on 1/30/10 in Philly after coming back and making the game interesting. They have not beaten the Flyers since February of 2008 and now will need to win to keep fans hopes alive. The Flyers will battle the Sabres and Leafs before looking to take on the Islanders. The Sixth place Flyers will be without net minder, Ray Emery, which makes no difference since all three Flyer goalies have beaten the Islanders. The Flyers have lost only three of their last nine games going into their match up with Buffalo this evening.

Finally the third match up will be with a good Blues team looking to make the playoffs. Sitting at 10th in the east just a point out of eighth, this is a team New York Hockey fans don get to see to often. The last time the Blues and Isles met the Blues beat the islanders 4-1 which included the following goal which made just about every highlight reel in the hockey world.
The Blues come to Long Island this time, after having week off after their match up in Colorado Saturday night.

The next three games will be far from easy and at this point may seem damn near impossible to win. Your guess is as good as mine if they will win but these next three are important. If the Islanders fall behind six points out of the eighth seed they most likely wont recover. The next three will indicate us whether we should be watching the standing s or watching the lottery board.