Times are starting to get a bit tough on Hempstead Turnpike.
The Islanders have lost two games in a row. Their 171 goals scored are 23rd in the NHL and worst amongst Eastern Conference Playoff teams. They have taken the second fewest shots in hockey, ahead of only the lowly Anaheim Ducks.
Yes, the Islanders have not been their dominant selves of late. But fans must put this situation into perspective and think about how far this group of outcasts have come.
The Islanders lost their star-player and arguably best defenseman in free agency for nothing, reacted by seemingly overpaying for veterans, and came into the season with no real starting goaltender, defensive talent, or offensive capability in their bottom-six.
Since then, the tables have completely turned.
Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss are the best goaltending tandem in hockey with a combined .924 save percentage. The Islanders have given up less goals than any other team. And most importantly, the Islanders have already reached their win total of 35 from last season… in February.
At the end of the day, the Islanders could trade for a star (e.g. Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone, Jonathan Huberdeau) at the Trade Deadline and jeopardize their future. They can also make depth moves, ride their momentum into the Playoffs and see what happens.
Lou Lamoriello knows exactly what is best for this team, leaving no doubt that he will do anything and everything he can to give this team the best chance of winning. But if that means avoiding the big fish, do not worry.
The Islanders have had arguably their most magical and unexpected season in the history of the franchise. There are feelings circulating similar to the Vegas Golden Knights of last season, and we all know how that ended: with a Stanley Cup appearance.
While the team’s offense, power-play and depth might not be perfect, the Islanders are currently proving people wrong and exceeding the expectations of everyone. So, when Monday comes around, have faith in the man that brought this team back to relevance in six months, something that five other men could not do in 26 years.
The Islanders are back and better than ever after expected to finish in last place. Life is good for this team. Never forget that. No matter how hard times get the rest of the way.