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Isles can clinch, but need help

The Islanders can clinch their first playoff appearance in six years Tuesday night, but they need help to get there.

So this goes beyond tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Isles fans will also have to keep a keen eye on a huge game between the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets in D.C.

The team's magic number is three, which means that the Isles will need either a win and a Jets loss (any kind) OR an overtime/shootout loss (one point gained) and a Jets regulation loss (two points surrendered).

The only team not currently among the top eight that could potentially knock the Isles out of a playoff spot right now is the Jets, though the Isles own a game in hand. The Jets have 22 non-shootout wins, though, while the Isles have only 20.

So suffice it to say that tonight's action is critical with a potential playoff-clinching possibility on the horizon for the Isles.