Trouble on Long Island

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

After getting off to a strong start with their new All-Star Bo Horvat, the New York Islanders have come back down to earth in a bad way.

As of this writing (Wednesday, February 15), the Islanders are 27-23-7 for 61 points. They are currently one point out of the second wild-card spot, which is currently being held by the Washington Capitals, and they are two points out of the first wild-card spot, which is currently being held by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The fact that they are still well within reach of a playoff spot is not what is worrisome. What should worry the Islanders and their fans is that they have lost three straight games and that the teams they lost to are not in a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

The 6-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks back on Thursday, February 9, was a real stinker. the Canucks are not known for scoring goals, and yet, they found a way to be Islanders All-Star goaltender Ilya Sorokin for six goals on 34 shots.

Two nights later, they lost to the lowly Montreal Canadiens in overtime by a score of 4-3. Simply put, the Canadiens, who are currently ninth in the Atlantic Division and 26th in the NHL, are a team that the Islanders should have pounced on, and they did not do that.

Then, on Tuesday, February 14, the Islanders lost to the Ottawa Senators in a shootout by a score of 3-2. They were stymied all night by Kevin Mandolese, a 22-year-old goaltender who was making his first NHL start, a start in which he made 46 saves on 48 shots.

It is alarming that a team who is fighting to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs went out and lost three games to non-playoff teams. The Islanders should have been able to come away with six points and be in one of the wild-card spots.

Instead, the team has come under scrutiny. Stefen Rosner, the New York Islanders beat writer for NYI Hockey Now, reported that Islanders head coach Lane Lambert has shown a lot of frustration during his team’s three-game losing streak.

  • “Following last Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, Lamber barely gave us any type of response to our questions“.
  • “Saturday, after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Lambert slammed the bench door shut as he left the ice, incredibly furious with how that game ended as the Islanders continued to beat themselves”.
  • “At Monday’s practice, we saw a desperate head coach trying to do what he could to wake up his players. He was hard on all of them, calling them out for their mistakes, fixing anything he deemed not to his standards during drills, and the players seemed to be buying into it”.

To make matters worse, the players simply have not responded. They do not seem to be playing with any desperation, and with their playoff lives on the line every night, one would think that would not be the case.

The rest of this month will not be any easier as they have games against the Penguins (two), Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets (two), Los Angeles Kings, and the Minnesota Wild to close out February. All of these teams are currently in playoff spots and are doing what they can to make sure that it stays that way for the rest of the season.

The Islanders need to find another gear because if they do not, they are going to be on the outside looking in come April.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports,, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog,, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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