After an 8-4-1 start to the season that put the Islanders atop the Metropolitan Division, fans began to make plans for a parade in June. However, the Islanders have returned to reality and are starting to look like the team we saw last year. Now, this is certainly not a surprise. In fact, the biggest surprise was seeing the Islanders actually win games and sit alone on top of the division for the few days that it lasted. Returning the same defensive unit as last season (Besides for the Luca Sbisa/Dennis Seidenberg swap), the Isles were expected to struggle after allowing the most goals in the NHL. Those struggles have been apparent the last three games.
The Islanders have gone 0-2-1 over their last three games, all of which were winnable. This is where our horrible memories come back to haunt us from previous Islanders teams: blown leads. As Islanders fans, we know there have been countless blown leads over the years, and we’ve been able to add to that list over the last few games. The Isles blew a 3-1 lead over Montreal on Monday, then allowed a game-winning goal to the Lightning with under two minutes remaining in regulation on Thursday night. Most recently, the Islanders lost a game that they should’ve won against the Florida Panthers. They had a 2-1 lead and were totally outplaying the Panthers before allowing the tying goal with under two minutes left in the second period. The Panthers scored an early power-play goal in the third and held on to win.
Another area in which the Isles have struggled recently is on the power-play. The Isles have only scored one power-play goal on their last twenty-one attempts. That certainly won’t win you hockey games. It seems as if the Isles have taken on a methodical approach to the PP, making pass after pass without putting pucks on net. If the Islanders want to get back to their winning ways, it starts with a power-play that can convert in key situations, which they haven’t been able to do of late.
Obviously, the Islanders are going to go through ups and downs this season, and quite frankly nobody expected them to even be in contention for anything besides the Draft Lottery this season. We have to allow Trotz to do what he does best and allow him to get this team to where they need to be to be able to compete with the best teams in the league. With the Isles not back in action until Tuesday night, they have a chance to regroup and try to get back on track.