When you awoke Thursday morning, it might have taken an extra brushing or two to get the bad taste out of your mouth from the previous two games the Islanders 'participated' in. A sleepy 4-1 loss to the Panthers at Barclays Center, their third straight home defeat, was followed by a no-show in Toronto, losing 5-0 to the Maple Leafs, getting outshot in the process, 50-28. If you bothered to even check the current NHL standings after Thursday night's games, you would see that New York is still well within striking distance of a playoff spot, trailing the Flyers by one point (giving two games in hand) and Blue Jackets by three points (also giving two games) for the final two wild card spots in the Eastern conference. Problem number one with New York being "in the race" at this point is that, with 30 games remaining on the schedule, the Hurricanes are right on their heels (one point back with two games in hand), and should the Red Wings win their three games in hand, would be right back in the discussion as well -- only then trailing New York by one point. Let's not even bring up Florida yet, who own four games in hand and currently trail by nine points. Problem number two comes in the form of the still-abysmal team defense being sent out every night. Of the teams in position for the final wild card spot, the closest to the Islanders in goals-against are those pesky Panthers at 159, with Carolina at 155. New York has allowed a ridiculous 189, which is the most in the league by a wide margin. Arizona, having played two fewer games, is second-worst at 172. Sample size plays a huge role when breaking down these numbers, so let's widen the Isles' issue out to a healthy 32 games and you will see the predicament they find themselves in. Their record is 14-15-3 (48 percent of possible points), but only seven of those wins have come in regulation. The penalty kill is 60/87 over that span -- a horrendous 69 percent. And they have allowed 123 goals (3.8 per game) on 1175 shots (36.7 per game). Twice over the past eight games, they have allowed 50 or more shots and have only outshot their opponent twice in their past 14 games.
The Islanders are at a crossroads
SNY TV | Feb 2