Times are tough at the UBS Arena as ice hockey fans watched the New York Islanders stumble to a third defeat on the bounce. The National Hockey League competitors from Elmont, New York, lost on Tuesday to the Winnipeg Jets, which is another bitterly disappointing result for lovers of the four-time Stanley Cup winners. That was the team’s third loss on the bounce, leading to widespread panic amongst its loyal supporters.
That convincing 4-2 win for the Jets was no surprise to odds-compilers working at the best sportsbooks in Georgia. Winnipeg was the pre-game favorite, with bookies to win the game, and they did as expected, landing victory in style. Fans of the Islanders knew winning was going to be a tough task in midweek, but most expected much better from their team. It appears three painful losses have sucked the confidence and morale of New York at a crucial stage of the season.
Can Lane Lambert’s crew turn things around in time to save their season, finishing the campaign with a shred of respect? That remains unclear, but all players must give more in every department, with many in the squad playing for their futures. The season is lost, but the Islanders want to show signs of encouragement for the future. They aim to give their long-suffering fans a reason to cheer.
Canada Life Centre collapse
The New York Islanders traveled to the Canada Life Centre for Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets following back-to-back defeats. Just a few days earlier, the side from the island had lost 3-1 to the Nashville Predators. That convincing defeat brought the teamcrashing back to earth following a mini-revival, and they quickly slipped back into bad habits.
Just two days after losing to the Nashville Predators, the Islanders were on the wrong side of the result again, this time going down to the Minnesota Wild. Leaking three goals to Nashville served as a timely reminder of the team’s poor defensive record this season. But if fans thought things couldn’t get any worse, they were proven wrong against Wild. A game that could’ve catapulted New York back into contention and onto the road to recovery ended in disaster.
The Islanders lost in humiliating fashion to Minnesota, conceding five goals without reply. Supporters have struggled through some poor performances already this season, but Monday’s game was up there with the worst showings of the campaign. Wild took a hard-fought but deserved 1-0 lead in the first quarter and moved further clear with two unanswered goals in the second period. A couple more in the third ensured a comfortable win for Minnesota, piling pressure on the losers.
Confidence was low in the Islanders’ locker room heading into Tuesday’s game, and the team suffered more misery in defense, conceding another four goals, taking their tally to a dozen conceded in just three games. The first period ended 1-1 before the Jets pulled clear in the second period. From then on, Islanders fans watched through the cracks in their fingers as an all too familiar tale unfolded before their eyes.
What’s gone wrong
The NHL season at this time of year barely gives hockey fans a chance to catch their breath as the games come thick and fast. But this week’s results can’t simply be swept under the carpet and ignored as the team prepares for its next outing. Too many major problems exist in the Islanders team, and the coaching staff must get to the bottom of those issues before the rot sets in. There’s still time to turn things around, but everyone at the UBS Arena must act now.
Knowing where to start is an issue for the board and staff as problems run through the squad. Could we see a clearout of the Islanders camp in pre-season, cutting off the deadwood and bringing in fresh blood? That’s a real possibility, but certain sections of the press already question the manager. Is Lambert the man to take the team forward? Perhaps the problems go much higher up the chain of command? It’s something owners must get right as they can’t afford another week like the one past.
Then we have the players who must shoulder some of the blame. Too many in the colors of the Islanders have underperformed this term. Others look like they don’t want to be at the club, while more than one has already proven they’re not good enough. Handlers must weed out the problem areas and replace them as soon as possible if New York is to return to the glory days.
The most glaring issue with the Islanders at present is the defense. This week included, New York has conceded 150 points in 44 games played in the Metropolitan. Let’s compare that to action at the other end of the rink, where we see they’ve scored 20 points fewer than they’ve conceded. The -20 in the goal difference tally is one of the worst in the league, overshadowed only by the -21 of the Washington Capitals and the -31 of the Colombus Black Jackets.
Updated league table
The updated league table following those three painful defeats makes for ugly viewing if you’re a New York Islanders fan. The team is stuck down in sixth place from a possible eight at the time of writing. Their stats for the campaign reads 19 wins and 15 defeats, with ten games ending in overtime.
The Islanders now have 48 points collected from 44 games, which is just one point better than the second-from-bottom New Jersey Devils but well clear of basement boys Colombus Blue Jackets and their 14-21-9 record with 37 points on the board. Looking up the way, we see New York isn’t cooked yet. They are level on points with the Pittsburgh Penguins in fifth place, while the fourth-place Washington Capitals have just two more points in the bank.
Could the Islanders climb the table? It’s certainly possible, but they must rediscover the form that saw them hammer the Arizona Coyotes 5-1 earlier this year.