Where to begin with the New York Islanders right now?
Seven games, six losses, with five in consecutive fashion. At least it can’t get much worse.
The worst part about the Islander’s losing streak is they’ve been competitive in each game up until the final 20 minutes, and last night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers is just the latest example.
Tied entering the final frame, the Islanders gave up two power-play goals in quick succession, spoiling the strong effort they put in during the first and second periods.
“You look through the first 40 minutes, we were good,” head coach Lane Lambert said. “Then we shoot the puck over the glass. So the ‘here we go again,’ we just have to keep fighting through it.”
To make matters worse, the Islanders lost to a team in a much worse situation than they are themselves.
The Oilers were in the midst of a free fall to begin their year due to horrendous goaltending and limited production from Connor McDavid, who seems to be playing through both injuries and frustrations.
In an attempt to save their season, the Oilers brought in a new coaching regime under Kris Knoblauch, which had its first test last night.
One would think that’d be a game for the Islanders to reap some confidence out of. Go in, beat a team already down and pick themselves up in the process. And yet, they couldn’t even do that.
McDavid looked like himself again with a goal and an assist, helping Knoblauch earn his first victory as an NHL head coach. In goal, Stuart Skinner was rock solid, fending off a barrage of shots from the Islanders, who couldn’t find a way to score a much-needed second goal.
“We put pucks to the net,” Lambert said. “We have opportunities. We have to capitalize on our scoring chances. We had plenty of shots, we had plenty of traffic, we’ve got to find a way to get pucks in the net.”
Now, it’s the Islanders who are in a free fall after starting a critical road trip in in the worst way possible.
Losing at home in front of your fans is hard enough, but the depressing silence of a long plane ride to sleep in a bed that isn’t your own can make a loss feel heavier than it already is.
“It’s frustrating,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “It’s not fun right now, but we got to find some joy in this game, enjoy the challenge that we’re in right now and come out of it together.”
So, where do the Islanders begin? Which way do they go from here?
The only way out is up.
“We’ve been in an adverse situation in the past and found our way out of it,” Lambert said. “That’s all you can do. You stick together. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. We’re doing a lot of good things. We’re not getting the results.”
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