The New York Islanders are a trainwreck right now. There’s no other way to describe it. They entered the year 2023 facing a difficult schedule, a real make-or-break stretch. Turns out that it might have just broken them.
As Dom wrote last night, the Islanders didn’t exactly waste another Ilya Sorokin gem against the Carolina Hurricanes. They played decently, and he wasn’t necessarily at his best. But the fact of the matter is that they once again lost and once again failed to score more than two goals.
They have only two wins in eleven January games. They’re almost back down to NHL .500, sitting at a .531. The Sabres have passed them in that regard, and the Panthers have caught them. The Flyers are only four points back. The Islanders still are two points behind the Penguins for the actual final wild card spot, but they have played more games than almost all of the teams around them in the race. Those lost points to bad teams this season are coming home to roost.
About last night:
- Despite overcoming the terrible start, the Islanders couldn’t take a lead. Carolina’s Sebastian Aho took over. [LHH]
- His first two goals in his hat trick were direct exploitations of the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho, which is simply [chef’s kiss]. [Newsday]
- It’s their fourth straight loss and they have one win in their last nine games. [Islanders]
- Remember when we all thought the Islanders were a third-period team? Their goal differential in the final frame was, at one point, +16; now, it’s just +2. [NYI Skinny]
- Cal Clutterbuck received the “out indefinitely” label for his latest injury, which based on usage probably means “long-term” or “for the season.” I feel for him, but he might need to hang them up soon. [NY Post]
- That means Aatu Räty has another chance to impress the big club. That is, of course, if Lane Lambert actually gives him a chance and stops giving him the Nino Niederreiter treatment. [Newsday]
- Speaking of Lambert, he got grilled post-game last night, but he still believes his message is getting through. That the question even needs to be asked only 48 games into his tenure might be telling. [amNY]
- Mathew Barzal sounded frustrated when he was asked about the rotating cast of wingers he has had to deal with this season. [Newsday]
- Ilya Sorokin has done well to maintain his focus despite the world falling down around him. [The Athletic]
- Samuel Bolduc scored twice, but the B-Isles still lost to the Baby Pens. [B-Isles]
- Today is the Islanders-Rangers alumni classic.
Last night’s NHL scores include the Golden Knights walloping the Capitals, while the Sabres, Flyers, and Panthers all won in regulation.
- The Canucks lost to the Oilers in what was surely Bruce Boudreau’s last game as Vancouver’s coach. Rick Tocchet will take over tomorrow. [Sportsnet]
- The way the Canucks handled Boudreau was disgusting, and everyone in that organization should be ashamed of themselves. Watching Boudreau tear up over the last few days has been heartbreaking, and there was no need for it. The fans know it, and they have let the organization know how highly they think of him. The Canucks are probably the worst-run organization in sports right now, and the fans want the owner to sell. [The Athletic]
- A new documentary about how former Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard ran the team into the ground with his greed and ego. [CBC]
- Injury news around the league, including Sergei Bobrovsky, Alex Ovechkin, Kris Letang, and our very own Cal Clutterbuck missing time. [NHL]
- Max Pacioretty is probably done for the year after snapping the same Achilles he snapped five months ago. I’m not a doctor, but that doesn’t sound good, in my opinion. Have to wonder if that’s career-threatening. [NHL]
- And the Canadiens have decided to shut down Cole Caufield for the season so he can have shoulder surgery. Now that’s tanking. [NHL]
- Darryl Sutter took a dump on Flames' top prospect Jakob Pelletier after his debut, which didn’t come until two weeks after he was actually called up because Sutter stapled him to the press box. There’s tough love and then there’s a lack of decency. [Sportsnet]