The Islanders fans at Prudential Center we’re chanting “We Want Playoffs” as the clock wound down on Monday night.

The Isles, in both their words and their actions in a 4-1 win, which clinched a playoff berth and third place in the Metropolitan Division, reciprocated the feeling.

“We want playoffs too, don't worry,” Head Coach Patrick Roy said after the game. “We're like them.”

The Islanders have clinched a playoff berth for a second straight season and for the fifth time in the past six year. They’ll face the Carolina Hurricanes in the First Round of the playoffs, meeting for the second straight season and the third time in the past six playoffs.

While clinching in game 81 was slightly ahead of schedule from securing last year’s spot in game 82, the Islanders were the first to acknowledge the long and hard road to get to this point.

“We were challenged with that a lot this year,” Captain Anders Lee said. “The biggest thing was that we came to the rink every day and we worked hard. It was tough at times to feel like we were going to pull ourselves out of it. We always believed in it but you still have to go out there and perform and make it happen and just really proud of this group for sticking with one another and committing to the goal at hand and putting ourselves into the playoffs.”

Isles Clinch Playoff Berth

It was a streaky season for the Islanders, which saw the team go from a five-game point streak to a seven-game winless stretch in November and immediately follow up six-game winning streak with a six-game winless streak in March. It was a season that saw a coaching change after a 1-5-1 stretch in January and the Islanders pull together when it mattered most, going 7-0-1 (so far) in April.

“The amount of times that we were told we were down and out and toast is probably the most I've seen in a year,” said Cal Clutterbuck. “But we were never down and out.”

Just on their 7-0-1 stretch, the Isles have beaten the Presidents’ Trophy winning New York Rangers, the 108-point Florida Panthers, and scored their first win over the Nashville Predators in 11 tries. They bent, but didn’t break in a head-to-head matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, who are playing for their season on Tuesday night.

“When we needed to win the big one, we won the big one and then we won the next one,” Clutterbuck said. “Then we won the next one and then we woke up the next day and did what we had to do. We battled through a ton of adversity and that can only help a group.”

The Isles were six points back of the playoffs on March 27, with two teams to leapfrog, and seven points back of third place in the Metro on March 27. MoneyPuck.com had the Islanders chances to make the playoffs at 4.7%, but the Isles bet on themselves, going 8-1-1 in the next 10 games.

“Ten games ago, no one really gave us a chance to be part of that that playoff picture and now here we are,” Head Coach Patrick Roy said. “We've secured that third seed and it's nice to see our guys be rewarded for that hard work.”

The high of Monday night felt as good as it did because of some of the lows during the season. There were visceral losses to San Jose and Pittsburgh at home in December, a Stadium Series game that got away from the Isles in the final five minutes, one of the many multigoal leads that vanished this season. The penalty kill – which was 3/3 against the Devils in the clincher – still ranks 32nd in the league at 72.2%.

But there have also been plenty of positive stats from this Islanders season. Noah Dobson became the first Islanders defenseman not named Potvin to record 70 points in a season. Mathew Barzal, who transitioned to a nearly full-time wing role, set career-highs in goals (23) and shots (240). Brock Nelson hit 30 goals for the third straight season, as he and Bo Horvat co-lead the team with 33 apiece. Kyle Palmieri surpassed the 25-goal and 50-point marks for the first time since 2019-20. The Isles scored a pair of wins over the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars. They had inspiring wins like a third period comeback against LA and won with a severely undermanned blue line in Ottawa on Black Friday. Imports like Mike Reilly, Robert Bortuzzo and Kyle MacLean all filled in and found important roles on the team.

While there were plenty of highs and lows throughout the season, the belief in the room did not waver. The Islanders had experience of overcoming adversity down the stretch in their run last season and channeled that same fortitude again.

“What matters is that we're in and we gave ourselves a chance,” Clutterbuck said. “We've proven to ourselves that we can beat anybody when we need to and that it's in here. The biggest takeaway is that we're very capable.”

The playoffs are the first step and not the end goal for the Islanders, but it was an important one for a group that had battled through plenty of adversity. They fought for the chance to keep playing past Wednesday night and they’ll continue to fight when they take on Carolina in the First Round.

“We always felt like we were getting in,” Lee told MSGSN after clinching. “It probably didn't feel like it all the time, but we believed in it. And this group has shown a lot to put everything together here at the right time. And we're looking forward to seeing what we can do here.”

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