East battle for eighth gets tighter
Eighth-place New York is 1-3-1-1 this month, allowing the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers to believe they still have a shot at the postseason. The Islanders (31-26-10-4) lead the Sabres by five points and the Panthers by seven. Florida has played one more game than the Isles and Sabres.
The situation is very familiar for the Islanders, who went 5-10-2 at the end of last season but hung on for the final playoff spot.