DENVER– The New York Islanders head back to Long Island after four games on the road, with one final stop at Madison Square Garden Thursday night before returning to home ice Friday to face the Florida Panthers.
Over these last four games, the New York Islanders have gone 1-1-2, as they have treaded water with three of a possible eight points and currently hold down the second-wild-card spot in the East.
The trip started with a strong performance against the Boston Bruins, but a few mistakes on their part ended up in the back of the net as they ultimately fell 4-3 in a shootout. Some may say the Islanders should have won that game, while others say if you get a point against Boston, in Boston where they have been so lethal, you take that point and run.
Then came the game against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullet Arena, as the Islanders got off to a commanding 2-0 lead. But then, the team took their foot off the gas, and netminder Ilya Sorokin struggled as they fell 5-4 in an embarrassing defeat.
After being called out by head coach Lane Lambert for their unacceptable effort, the Islanders put forth their strongest game of the trip, a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. They were structurally sound defensively, but yet again, the win came down to Semyon Varlamov‘s brilliancy before he left the game with under seven to play with a lower-body injury.
In the finale out west, the Islanders played a strong few periods against the Colorado Avalanche, with Sorokin shining, but they did not create enough offensive chances, putting up an egg in the goal column and failing to come through in overtime despite a 3-0-0 record in the extra frame this season.
It’s hard to say the road trip was a success.
If the New York Islanders had won against Arizona, that would have made it five out of a possible eight points, and that’s a win. Then again, they could have lost to the beast of the East in the Bruins in regulation, and even with Colorado without superstar Nathan Mackinnon, they could have easily lost that game in regulation.
“Well, we’re continuing to grind. This is [was] our third in four [nights],” Lambert said. “Trip is not over. We’ve still got the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, so that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Here’s what some of the players had to say following the western trip:
Mathew Barzal: “Pretty solid, really? Five hundred, I think. We played some good teams, so [we’ll look to] finish it off strong in New York.”
Brock Nelson: “I mean, you want to get that game for sure. Like, it’s tough. I feel like we had a couple of games where we thought we deserved a couple of points and didn’t get them, get one. We are trying to build our game, find the positives, and finish strong here before the break.
Zach Parise: “Win our next game at MSG. You can make it a pretty good, pretty good one. I mean, that would be, you know, six points…I think my math is right. Six out of, I don’t know what it would be out of, but, you know, [Ball Arena is a] tough building to play in. Had our opportunities to win the game, but can’t sit here and say we played a bad game.”