Fans were calling for Lane Lambert’s head last night at UBS Arena. One player fired back at the fans. And now, having dropped four straight and five of six, they’re headed out to the NHL’s northwest for a four-game trip on which they went 1-3 last year. It’s getting a little ugly in Elmont.
The New York Islanders played pretty well last night but still fell 4-1 to the Washington Capitals, who took advantage of Islander mistakes and got a strong performance in net in his second NHL game from Hunter Shepard.
On one hand, the Islanders have routinely struggled on the road trip on which they’re about to embark. On the other, when things aren’t going well like this, playing a lot of home games may actually be detrimental. The noise gets louder—see, for example, last night’s chants, which have happened before but saw the decibels increase yesterday. Road trips can be a good way for a team to come together (stress on can, because it can also go the other way). The Isles haven’t had one yet this season, just a couple of one-offs. Maybe this trip brings them together and saves the season.
But anything less than .500 might tank it. They appear to be who we worried they were.
- Hockey is a confounding game. Play well and lose, play poorly and win. It happens all the time, and the former always seems to happen when things are going badly. [LHH]
- Pierre Engvall returned, but Oliver Wahlstrom took a seat. [3 Takeaways] Engvall spoke about his costly mistake and benching. [THN]
- The Lambert chants started on Tuesday, along with some Lou chants, but the Lambert chants were louder last night. [Newsday | NY Post]
- When asked about the chants, Casey Cizikas fumed that the fans chanting that should “stay home.” While I get the sentiment—I don’t feel comfortable screaming at a guy that he should be fired—that’s not something you want to say to your paying customers. And frankly, if you don’t like hearing it, play better. [Newsday]
- Hopefully, Cizikas didn’t permanently alienate himself with some of the fanbase (although knowing Islander fans, surely that has happened with some pockets).
FWIW: Casey Cizikas has done a lot for #Isles fans/community in his decade+ w/ the organization.— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) November 12, 2023
Seems to be forgotten by a lot of fans over last few hours after frustrations clearly got best of him. Wondering if an apology, which I'd expect tomorrow, would smooth things over.
- The loss dropped them down to NHL .500, but another way to look at it is that they’ve also lost eight of the 13 games they have played. [NY Post]
- And while I appreciate Stan Fischler’s optimistic framing of “at least [they’re] playing .500 hockey,” that’s simply not good enough in today’s league, as reflected by their current standings position: seventh in the Metro, 14th in the East. [THN]
- But perhaps on the actual bright side, the last time this season the Isles fell to NHL .500, they reeled off a 3-0-1 stretch. [NYI Skinny]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fourth straight win, this over the Buffalo Sabres, and the Islanders’ next opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, earning a palette-cleansing victory over the Seattle Kraken—which, I’ve been saying to friends, is walking the path of exactly what I feared: They wax the Kraken, start feeling good about their game, and continue their groove with a demolition of the visiting Islanders.