The New York Islanders wrapped up a very successful six game road trip last night with their last visit to the city of brotherly love but could not come away with one last victory. And it has become a pattern that just might doom the team in their late charge to reach the sweet round of sixteen that compete annually for the National Hockey League’s greatest honor, the Stanley Cup.
Picking up eight of a possible twelve points on the road has to be considered a success for any team in the league but with the Islanders having to battle from so far behind, every divisional and conference point is precious at this time in the season. And last night’s 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, their third consecutive defeat to this team on the season, puts New York ten points from the third spot in the division and still seven out of the wild card.
With a conference mark of 10-15-6 and an even worse divisional record of 3-11-3, these are the games that need to be won right now. And there are a ton of them on the schedule coming up, including tomorrow’s rematch at the Coliseum against the Flyers and three games against the surging New York Rangers.
Last night was a combination effort from just about everyone on the roster. In a game they led going into the third period 4-3, the Islanders never once looked in control and seemed to even lose their emotions completely in the second period when Philadelphia was content to run around performing acts that on the street would be considered borderline crimes. The first line struggled, especially defensively, as was clear on the game winning goal scored with just four minutes to play in the third period.
Kevin Poulin also looked very shaky from the onset, allowing the first bad goal in a long time against this team to get the Flyers on the board in the first period after New York had jumped out to a 2-0 lead. When Brian Strait fired home a slapper from the point late in the second to give the Islanders their one goal lead after forty minutes, Philadelphia bench boss Craig Berube pulled starter Steve Mason and replaced him with Ray Emery. It seemed to calm the Flyers down and they played much more responsibly to the finale. One could only wonder what could have been had Jack Capuano realized the struggles of Poulin and replaced him with Anders Nilsson.
On the good news front, more positivity on the status of Lubomir Visnovsky, who has passed his latest baseline test and will skate with the team today at Nassau Coliseum, albeit still in a no-contact jersey. On the flip side, Travis Hamonic is still showing symptoms of a concussion and remains on the sidelines. Things will certainly not get any easier from here on out.
In Case You Missed It
- We recap the disappointment of another divisional loss right here (EOI)
- Lighthouse Hockey with their excellent recap of the third period collapse (LHH)
- A good dust-up between Eric Boulton and Jay Rosebud of the Flyers (Hockey Fights)
- Staple with his recap as he finally gets to come home (Newsday)
- And lastly, Art follows with the Visnovsky and Hamonic updates (Newsday)
Around The NHL
Across The Bridge
The baby Islanders fall again to the Hershey Bears 5-3 last night as their current skid continues. Riley Wetmore, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mike Keenan scored the goals. Here is the official recap.
Have a great day everyone and remember, it’s only hockey right? If going out to enjoy today’s NFL conference championship games, please remember to be responsible and don’t drink and drive. Hope to see you at the Coliseum tomorrow for the MLK day matinee rematch against the Flyers.