The 2018-2019 New York Islanders season has come to a close and with that so ends a season that none of us will ever forget. A season that most fans believed would be meaningless turned into the best season the team has had since 1983.
While the regular season was amazing, the playoffs were nothing new. In extremely disappointing fashion, the Islanders were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
After the first two games in that series, most fans still had a surprising level of confidence. Both games could have ended entirely different with one play. Regardless, hope was alive and well.
Game 3 and 4 felt like déjà vu. The Islanders played down to their opponent. Close games became total domination at the hands of a team that hadn’t made the playoffs in ten years.
The Islanders were swept and most believed that this season was a success. In a sense, of course it was a huge success. A team picked near the bottom by practically every hockey analyst surged to the top and fought for the Metropolitan Division championship until the very last week of the season.
The team grew to love new coach Barry Trotz and his system, which led to multiple players having career seasons and others stepping up their game to levels most thought would never happen.
So what’s wrong with this season then?
The complete, utter collapse in the playoffs.
After humiliating Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders suffered a humiliating defeat themselves. This defeat has been taken rather lightly among many fans and analysts, but there is no way it should be.
The Islanders finished the regular season with the fifth most points in the NHL and going into the second round, they had the second most points of remaining teams.
The Islanders failed. This team was simply too good to get swept by the Hurricanes, no matter how hot they were or how long of a break the Islanders had. Barclays Center is no excuse either.
The Islanders threw the series away after Carolina went up 3-2 in Game 3, and they never showed a consistent sign of life the rest of the way.
This group of individuals needs to feel the pain of this sweep all offseason, especially if Carolina concludes the tree of sweeps and loses to Boston in four games.
After a season like the Islanders had and the total domination over Pittsburgh during the first round, nobody should be happy with the end result.
Yes, mistakes were made on the ice and in the office, but regardless, this team has put themselves in a situation where analysts can call them out for exceeding expectations and many do not know what to expect from the organization this offseason.
Moves have to be made in order to show the NHL and their fans that this is truly a new age of Islanders hockey. A year where the drive 4 five really could have come to a close ended on a note this team should and must be enraged over.
The Islanders have to show that rage next season on the rink to prove everyone wrong for once and for all.