A game like last night does not really inspire the kind of confidence that, as fans, we would hope to have on the way to the playoffs. Between curious lineup decisions and disjointed play, nothing seems to be going right at the moment for the New York Islanders.
Their top scorer has struggled mightily and the response from Barry Trotz seems to have been to saddle him with fourth-liners. The team acquired a top-line player and the coach has been reluctant to play him on the top line. The fourth line itself has been showing its age and the wear-and-tear of years of banging bodies, lacking the effectiveness for which they are usually known.
Combine that with a rare off night for the goaltending, and you get a 6–3 loss to the division-leading Washington Capitals while getting outscored 6–0 at even strength, the Isles’ bread-and-butter. Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers made it seem as though the Islanders were getting ready to roll toward the playoffs, and Thursday’s first period against the Caps seemed to reinforce that notion. But since the second period on Thursday, the Islanders have not looked their best.
On one hand, maybe you say that at least they are getting this ugly stretch out of the way now before the playoffs. On the other hand, you might say that now is the time that they should be ramping up toward the postseason. Who’s to say which is better?
- Trotz sounded frustrated:
Trotz Postgame Availability pic.twitter.com/mhHEopgFo6— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 25, 2021
- Starting Ilya Sorokin had been the plan all along for the Islanders. I expect that Semyon Varlamov will return to the cage on Tuesday night. [Newsday]
- Kyle Palmieri is not worried about this summer or next season; he’s worried about the here and now. [Newsday]
- Brock Nelson is no longer known just for Brocktober. He has become a consistent player all year long. [Newsday]
- The Sound Tigers are on a bit of a roll: they won their third straight game yesterday against the Wolf Pack. [Sound Tigers]
- This (yester)day in Isles history: Ray Ferraro scored in double-overtime to give the Isles their third consecutive overtime win against the Caps in the first round (1993); Shawn Bates converted a penalty shot late in Game 4, propelling the Islanders to a win and 2-2 series tie in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs (2002); and John Tavares tied Game 6 against the Florida Panthers with less than a minute remaining in regulation and then won it in double-overtime to give the Islanders their first series win since 1993 (2016).
- Also, the Minnesota Wild defeated the San Jose Sharks to clinch a playoff berth. [NHL]
- The Ottawa Senators were down to their third goalie and, since no emergency back-ups have been allowed with protocols, forward Artem Anisimov would have been next in line. [NHL | The Athletic]
- Rasmus Sandin is making his case to stay in the Leafs’ playoff lineup. [Sportsnet]
- The Montreal Canadiens are faltering in large part because GM Marc Bergevin botched the Trade Deadline. [The Athletic]