That won’t get it done.
The New York Islanders led by a goal three different times last night over the New York Rangers, including entering the third period, but failed to pick up even a point. It was a disappointing end to a disappointing road trip, and there are three more games left in what could only be described as a disappointing month of December.
Their failure to at least grab an extra point in so many of these losses likely will have as much to do with their undoing as all the losses to bad teams they should have beaten. Yes, they’re dealing with injuries, but so are most teams. If the goal is to win a Cup with this core, they need to do better than being in sixth place in the division at Christmastime.
The Islanders close out this portion of the season by hosting the Florida Panthers, another team that is supposed to be much better than their place in the standings. The Islanders have lost their previous two meetings this season, but just maybe they’ll sneak two points tonight. Since Florida is one of the teams they’re battling for a spot, my personal and very scientific opinion is that they should try to win in regulation.
The Washington Capitals, who with a win in Ottawa last night jumped two points over the Islanders for fifth in the Metro and the second wild card, also play tonight. We shall see how the standings shake out going into the Christmas break. If they’re tied in standings points, the Islanders can say they went into Christmas still clinging to a playoff spot by games played. Ho ho ho.
Happy Festivus, LHH. “I got a lotta problems with you people! Now, you’re gonna hear about it!”
Recaps and such:
- Of course, it had to be the overhyped Kid Line that did the Isles in late in the game. I hate the Rangers. [LHH]
- It looked like they might end the trip 2-1-2, and six out of ten points would have been nice. Instead, they went 1-2-2, taking only four points. That’s how you fall out of the playoffs. They better go on like a ten-wins-out-of-thirteen-games-type stretch soon. [Newsday]
- The overall play has been concerning, but they were undisciplined last night and, for the first time this season, lost a game they led entering the third period. [3 Takeaways]
- Scott Mayfield’s look of incredulity after that blatant cross-check late in the third period last night was almost comical. The Rangers didn’t convert there, but took the lead shortly after it ended. [NY Post]
- It doesn’t help that the injuries keep piling up. The latest injured Islander is Casey Cizikas. [Newsday]
- But the most concerning part of this long stretch of rough hockey and results is that they just might not be good enough to compete in the East. [The Athletic]
- Alex Romanov scored his first as an Islander, his first goal since March. He is the 390th player in club history to score a goal. [NYI Skinny]
Tonight’s game and other notes:
- Looking ahead to tonight’s game. It will be ‘90s Night at UBS Arena, and the Isles will wear their Reverse Retros. Maybe they’ll score a goal while wearing them, too. [Islanders]
- Even though he started last night, Ilya Sorokin may start again tonight with Semyon Varlamov still injured. It is possible we see Cory Schneider, though. [Newsday]
- Anders Lee scored the game-winner when the Isles came back to beat the Rangers in November. That was his last goal until six games ago. He’s hoping to get back to his early level. [Newsday]
- This Day in Isles History: Bryan Trottier notched five goals and eight points in a 9-4 win over the Rangers (1978).
- Old friend Rhett Rakhshani’s wife was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 cancer in late November, and friends and family are looking to help the young Rakhshani family this holiday season. Please donate if you can—I’m sure anything helps. [GoFundMe]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Capitals’ aforementioned overtime win over the Senators, as well as the Hurricanes and Penguins of course playing a three-point game, with Carolina taking the extra one in OT.
- The NHL has postponed two games already because of the bomb cyclone bearing down on all of temperate North America: Lightning at Sabres, and Red Wings at Senators. [NHL]
- Elias Pettersson missed some time with an illness, but he returned to the lineup last night with five points. [Sportsnet]
- The Boston Bruins completed their internal investigation into how they screwed up the Mitchell Miller thing so badly. They’re calling it a failure of process, not personnel, and they’re taking steps to avoid such a failure of process in the future. But I will say that there is no amount of process that can correct willful incompetence. [ESPN]