The effort was there, but the execution was not, and neither were the breaks. It’s January on Long Island.
Despite playing on the second half of a back-to-back with travel, the New York Islanders looked alive last night visiting the league-best Winnipeg Jets. This was a schedule loss and probably was always going to be a loss, but the Islanders played decently in response to their utter no-show in Minnesota the night before. However, they couldn’t stay out of the box and failed to get a couple of necessary clears. A couple of the Jets’ goals were fluky, but they couldn’t overcome that. Add it all up, and you get the Islanders’ third straight regulation loss. On the road against one of the best teams in the league, it’s the kind of loss you could excuse—if they weren’t so inconsistent, and if they didn’t shit the bed the night before and on numerous nights before.
The loss dropped them to 1-5-0 in their last six games, 2-5-1 in the new year, and 3-7-1 since coming back from Christmas break: That accounts for only seven points in eleven games (out of 22 possible points) in the last three weeks.
As a result of this January’s swoon, the Islanders have dropped to 11th in the conference by points and 12th by points percentage. They’re only one point out of a playoff spot, but they’ve played more games than most of the teams ahead of them and have several teams now to jump. They’re also five points out of a Metro playoff spot. That’s not good! So much for what Mathew Barzal hoped for at the end of last season, a more comfortable path to the playoffs.
About last night:
- Anders Lee scored twice, but that wasn’t enough. [LHH]
- They thought it was “a step in the right direction.” It was, as long as they play like that every night. They’ll probably win more games than they lose if they maintain that level. [3 Takeaways]
- Winnipeg is a good team, and everything has been going right for them lately. Also, Lane Lambert juggled his lines again. [Newsday]
- No comeback this time. [THN]
- The concern level has to be high now, though. [NY Post]
- Before Monday’s game, Mathew Barzal hadn’t gone consecutive games without a point all season; now, it’s three straight games without one. Lane, put him back with Bo Horvat for the love of god. [NYI Skinny]
- Please be ready soon: Semyon Varlamov has hit the ice at least once since being injured.
#Isles Lane Lambert reports that G Semyon Varlamov (IR/lower body) has been able to skate once back in NY.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 17, 2024
- Pierre Engvall looked to be a pointless healthy scratch again, but then the team announced just before the game started that he was day-to-day with an upper-body injury. [Isles DTD] Toss another one on the pile. [NY Post]
- I think it was the first time ever that a goal was scored while a goalie was without a blade on his skate when Ilya Sorokin’s blade popped out. There’s no rule mandating a whistle, but perhaps there should be. Also, even though it was a back-to-back, they took a morning skate yesterday because of how dreadful Monday was. [Newsday]
- Lane Lambert is tired of talking about needing a response after a bad loss. Yes, and points and the season are slipping away. Please fix it. [Newsday]
- Starting with the defensive zone play: They bleed shots, shot attempts, and chances against, despite leading the league in blocked shots per game. That’s really bad, Lane. [THN]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Rangers defeating the Kraken and the Capitals topping the Ducks, both in regulation.
- If there is one solace to take as a hater, it’s that the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost four straight games, starting with their loss to the Isles last week, that they have lost in regulation despite holding a multi-goal lead in each of them. Warms my heart. [Sportsnet]
- Jack Eichel had surgery for a lower-body injury—so it’s not his neck again—and is week-to-week. [NHL]
- Connor Bedard won’t be in the lineup when the Islanders visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, but he has resumed skating. [NHL]
- Patrick Kane does not appear to have re-injured his hip, but he injured something and will be out the rest of this week. [NHL]
- So now Elvis Merzlikins admitted to requesting a trade, and that seems to be on the horizon. The suitors are all the usual suspects. [The Athletic]
- A kid from Haupaugge, James Hagens, might be the first overall pick in 2025—now that’s wild. [The Athletic]