Islanders ‘playing to win’ these days

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Members of the New York Islanders will wake up Wednesday morning in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Islanders’ 44 points ties them with the sixth-place Ottawa Senators, who have lost five games in a row, however the Senators hold the tiebreaker with fewer games played to date.

The Islanders, now two points ahead of the New York Rangers, haven’t made the playoffs since the 2006-07 season, but they got one step closer to changing that with a 4-1 win over the fading Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

“We played like we wanted it more – I think that’s why we got the two points,” Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov told NHL.com.

“Everything is positive right now, but you can’t get carried away because you know that it’s such a fight for the playoffs with eight games left. You can find yourself very quickly the other way. You just want to keep the focus and intensity at the same level, win or lose.”

It’s been nothing more than a simple change in philosophy from the Islanders. They are no longer a running joke in the NHL. They’ve gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and in the thick of a playoff race.

We’re not playing to lose, we’re playing to win,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo told Newsday Long Island.

“That’s a big change around here. We’ve got a ton of confidence right now.”