The New York Islanders, after yesterday afternoon’s tilt at UBS Arena, could be described as charitable.
Just seven months removed from the Stanley Cup Final, the Montréal Canadiens entered their game against the Islanders yesterday with just nine (9! A number so small I had to spell it out!) wins. A single-digit win count through 49 games.
They have ousted their lame-duck executives and coaches, replacing them with the guy that helped make the New York Rangers who they are today, a former player agent, and former NHL star whose coaching experience extends as far as pee-wee.
Their future Hall-of-Fame goalie, Carey Price, has missed the whole season suffering from some mental health issues. The other NHL goalie on their roster, Jake Allen, has missed play for the last four weeks and will likely be out another four weeks. They thus had to trade for Andrew Hammond, most famous for catching fire and dragging the 2014–15 Ottawa Senators on the kind of miraculous run we would need to make the playoffs at this point.
During yesterday’s game, Hammond made his first NHL start since the 2018 playoffs—and you knew how that was going to go. The Islanders fell in the shootout, helping the Habs reach double digits in the win column in late February. How charitable.
This all means that this month, the Islanders have now lost to the Canadiens, the Seattle Kraken, and the Buffalo Sabres, three of the worst teams in the NHL. If there ever was a chance of a playoff push, it depended on the Isles taking six points from those three games; instead, they took one.
It isn’t a bold position to take, but I’m calling it today, February 21: They’re cooked; stick a fork in ‘em. Sell off the UFAs for whatever they return, and come back rested next year.
Islanders News: Almost All About Yesterday Afternoon
- The Islanders, once again, did not have it. [LHH]
- Sure, they got a point out of it. And sure, Kyle Palmieri scored. But who cares? [3 Takeaways]
- Getting only one point out of a game against Montréal will not cut it. It has become increasingly clear that they should sell at the Trade Deadline, one month from today. [Newsday]
- Brock Nelson had the other Islander goal to tie the game with just under three minutes left in regulation. It was exciting at the time, but the loss sours that excitement. [Rapid Recap]
- The Hamburglar got his first regular-season NHL win since April 2016. [NHL]
- Kieffer Bellows continued to look like he belonged, even though he played only 12:30. Most of that was due to him not playing on the power play or penalty kill, allegedly. The rest of the team, however, fell flat again. [The Athletic]
- There was one bright spot Sunday: Former Islanders “glue guy” Leo Komarov helped Team Finland win its first-ever Olympic gold medal, defeating the Russian Olympic Committee. Barry Trotz and the Islanders FaceTimed him after the game. [Newsday]
Barry Trotz Facetimed Leo Komarov with the players that were skating this morning. "He was beaming with the medal around his neck." #Isles— (@IslesFix) February 20, 2022
Yesterday’s NHL scores include the Carolina Hurricanes scoring in the final minutes of regulation to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- The Vegas Golden Knights topped the San Jose Sharks in part thanks to Jack Eichel’s first goal as a Knight. [NHL]
- The dead cat bounce under new coach Jay Woodcroft has come to an end as the Edmonton Oilers fell behind 3-0 in the first six minutes of the game and lost 7-3 to the Minnesota Wild. It snapped a five-game win streak and was Woodcroft’s first loss as coach. [Sportsnet]
- The Fourth Period reports that the Arizona Coyotes have “escalated” trade talks involving Jakob Chychrun, but nothing is imminent. So, no updates, really. [TFP]
- Still no Isles on the Trade Deadline Big Board. [The Athletic]
- More details about the Finns’ win over the Russians. [ESPN]